After more than two years without a new ambassador at 50 O’Connor St. in Ottawa, Israel’s new ambassador to Canada is about to start his new job. Embassy officials say Ronen Hoffman arrives in Canada this Sunday, and presents his credentials to Canada’s Governor General Mary Simon on Dec. 7 at Rideau Hall.
Hoffman, 58, is a former member of the Israeli Knesset for the coalition Yesh Atid party, but he is also a well-known academic, with a PhD in Israel-Syria relations from King’s College in London. Hoffman taught in the School of Government at the IDC in Herzliya, and is considered an expert on Middle East peace negotiations and Israel’s foreign policy.
Hoffman’s appointment was announced in July 2021, after the new Israeli government of Naftali Bennett was sworn in.
The appointment was welcomed by the Canadian Jewish political action organization, CIJA.
The previous ambassador, Nimrod Barkan, retired in November of 2019 after a three-year term. The position wasn’t filled until now due to instability in Israeli politics and the COVID pandemic interfering with travel. The charge´ d’affaires Ohad N. Kaynar has been acting as head of the Israeli mission these last two years.
Hoffman is not a complete stranger to Canadian issues: he was head of the Knesset’s Parliamentary Committee for Israel-Canada relations.
With the arrival of Hoffman, the Israel diplomatic complement in Canada is now complete: Idit Shamir arrived this August to take up the post of the Israeli consul general for Toronto and Western Canada and the Northwest Territories, while Paul Hirschson has taken up his duties for the Israeli government in Montreal. Hirschson is responsible for Quebec and Atlantic Canada. He has already visited Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, since arriving in August.