Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold on Monday met with the new Egyptian ambassador to Israel, Hazem Khairat, who arrived in Israel at the start of this month.

“Israel considers Egypt an important country in the region and relations with it are vital to Israel,” Gold said.

Khairat is the first Egyptian envoy to Israel since November 2012, when Egypt withdrew its envoy in protest of Operation Pillar of Defense, the eight-day Israeli military campaign against terrorist groups in Gaza. The decision was made by then-Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian terror group Hamas’s parent organization.

Since Morsi’s ouster in 2013 and the rise to power of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Israel-Egypt relations have steadily improved.

By: Israel Hayom/Exclusive to