Israeli ambassadors will now study language of host nation

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold to change the regulations for selecting candidates for foreign service to make it possible to choose them a year before their appointments begin, thus allowing them time to study the language of the nations in which they will be representing Israel.

The decision is intended to give ambassadorial candidates adequate time to prepare themselves for their new roles.

Netanyahu also asked that the Foreign Ministry take steps to teach its employees Chinese and Spanish (with emphasis on the Mexican dialect), including candidates for ambassadorial posts.

Some of Israel’s ambassadors already have command of the non-English languages of the nations to which they have been posted, such as Ambassador to Egypt Haim Koren, who is fluent in Arabic, including Sudanese dialects. Ambassador to Canada Rafael Barak is fluent in both English and French, as well as Spanish, having been born and raised in Uruguay.