Egypt's New Foreign Minister No Friend of Israel

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Over the course of his long diplomatic career, newly appointed Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby has seldom expressed anything favorable toward Israel.

Born in Cairo in 1935, Elaraby replaces outgoing foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, who served in the post since 2004.

A partner in Zaki Hashem & Partners in Cairo, Elaraby has been Egypt's permanent representative to the United Nations in New York and Geneva and director of the Regional Cairo Center for International Commercial Arbitration.

From 2001-2006, Elaraby served as a judge in the International Court of Justice. In an interview with an Egyptian newspaper before his appointment, Elaraby was quoted as saying he supported "an Arab Muslim claim against Israeli crimes," Israel’s Ynet news reported.

During his tenure on the court, he voiced his opposition to the construction of Israel's security barrier.

A career diplomat, Elaraby will likely establish diplomatic relations with Iran and shore up Egypt's friendship with Syria and Lebanon, according to Cairo University Prof. Mustapha Kamal al-Sayyid, the Washington Post reported.

"Public opinion in Egypt is in favor of a less soft approach to Israel, and I think he shares this feeling," Sayyid said. "It will be very difficult for him to make the kind of concessions Hosni Mubarak made to Israel," he said.

Sayyid said the new Egyptian government will also likely not be as "reliable an ally" as the government of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

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