Israel's Ambassador to Egypt Retires After Two Years in Post

CAIRO, Egypt - Israel's ambassador to Egypt, Gideon Ben-Ami, retired from his post and left the Arab country Friday for Tel Aviv, an Israeli diplomat said.

Ben-Ami, 65, completed his two-year term as ambassador and will be replaced by career diplomat Eli Shaked, Israeli Embassy spokesman Israel Tikochinski told The Associated Press.

Shaked will arrive in Cairo at the end of October, Tikochinski said.

Shaked formerly headed the Israeli consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. He has worked previously at the Israeli Embassy in Cairo and served in the Israeli Foreign Ministry's foreign policy unit.

In 1979, Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel. Egypt is regarded as key mediator between Israeli and Palestinian officials and has been urging Palestinian militant groups to stop carrying out suicide attacks against Israelis.

However, relations between Egypt and Israel have cooled due to Israel's ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. In November 2000, Egypt withdrew its ambassador to Israel, to protest Israeli actions against the Palestinians.