Why Eritrea refused to accredit Israel’s ambassador – and why Israel should retaliate

Source: Ma’ariv, Israel, July 14

Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid recently announced his decision to shut down the Israeli Embassy in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, and disperse its employees. This is because Eritrea has been delaying the arrival of the Israeli ambassador for almost two years.

The prime minister’s announcement seems to have been made in haste and anger.

The story raises a lot of questions and also raises an eyebrow. Without speculating as to why this happened, let’s start with the facts: The Israeli government appointed a new ambassador to Eritrea in July 2020. As usual, it officially notified the authorities there and asked, also as per usual, for consent so that the new ambassador could travel to Asmara and start working. Since then, the Eritrean authorities haven’t approved Israel’s request. Without formal permission, the ambassador can’t officially travel to the country and begin his post.

This is a real deviation from diplomatic protocol.

Asmara has a right to postpone the appointment. But what’s strange is its refusal to provide any satisfactory explanation. That’s simply unacceptable. How did Israel allow this anomaly to last for two years? Giving consent is usually a matter of several weeks, not years.

Ostensibly, if there are no ties and the Eritreans are delaying the approval of our ambassador, we have nothing to do there. But again: Why drag feet for two years without an appropriate response on our part? We will probably be left with no plausible explanation.

And now for the speculations.

Why does Eritrea behave the way it does? The Red Sea region is familiar to me from the time I served as Israel’s ambassador to Egypt. Based on my conversations with those familiar with the topic, it seems as if the current Eritrean president doesn’t want us in his country. Others claim it’s all because of our rapprochement with Sudan.

As stated, all this is speculation, and even if they are all true, there is still no justification for Asmara not giving consent to the appointment of the ambassador.

And one more thought: Diplomatic relations between countries are based on the principle of reciprocity. What is the benefit of Israel not having an official representation in Eritrea while Eritrea has an active embassy in Israel?

This creates an unwanted imbalance. If a decision has finally been made to shut down the embassy in Asmara, the principle of reciprocity must be applied, and the Eritrean ambassador must be asked to leave Israel. They must understand that we’re serious.

–Yitzhak Levanon (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)


  1. The reasons why Israel had working relations with Eritrea since the 90s at a time when Israel was not at good term with many country of the Middle East and Africa like (Syria, Lebanon, Iraq under Sadam, Iran, Libya under Gadaffi, marrocco before the Abraham agreement, Sudan to the time of Umar al bashir before the abraha agreement and have geostrategic ties with crucialcountries like Ethiopia and the Red Sea Nation Eritrea.

    When Eritrea and Israel started diplomatic missions Eritrea backed Israel and Israel backed Eritrea in the conflicts in the Middle East and Red Sea region.

    When Eritrea and Yemen were at war allegedly Israel backed Eritrea.

    When Eritrea and the Islamist government of Umar al bashir were at war Israel allegedly backed Eritrea as well. Eritrea mother other side almost never voted in resolution against Israel nor had any diplomatic ties with any Palastinian Group.

    Other sources claim that Israel airlines weren’t allowed to fly over the Gulf States Air Space and The air Spaces of the other Islamic countries that had tensions with Israel so Israeli Airlines flew over Eritrean air space and now that Saudi Arabia and Israel have diplomatic relations Israeli airlines are allowed to fly Over Saudi Arabia so they don’t need the close Relations with Eritrea

    Since Israel had no permission to use the air space of the mentioned countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Sudan Israeli jets were allowed tingly over Eritrean territory

  2. Israel should immediately and without delay boot out the Eritrean Ambassador, whom members of the diaspora call the “Dictator’s Banker”. It should stop all diplomatic relations with Eritrea because Israel has nothing to gain from an impoverished country that is led by a madman who has no sense of diplomacy, good manners nor decency.

    Israel should not repeat the European’s mistake and try to have a relationship with a devil that is doomed to failure.

    The Europeans idea of engagement has failed repeatedly despite the EU throwing huge sums of taxpayers hard earned money at Eritrea for many years.

    Engagement with Eritrea under the current regime will never work and indeed it has not worked for over three decades. Isaias cannot have friends, only enemies. And he loves it.

    Time the world realises Eritrea is a pariah state with a Stone Age mentality. It is led by an old man who cannot see beyond his nose and cherishes war and destruction for pleasure. He has brought Eritrea to its knees but can’t quite fathom why and by whom. This is a man who cannot add 2 and 2 together, and no point trying to have a relationship with him.

    Isaias should be isolated and locked in a shipping container for good . Only then will Eritrea be free and ready for a mutually beneficial international engagement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.