#6 - JRL 7002
January 2, 2003
Immigrant named ambassador to Moscow
By HERB KEINON
Arkady Melman, 45, who immigrated some 15 years ago from the former Soviet Union, was appointed Israel's ambassador to Moscow on Wednesday.
Melman, who is coming from the ranks of the Foreign Ministry and is not a political appointment, is currently Israel's No. 2 official in the embassy, and is slated to replace Natan Meron in the summer.
Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying he hoped, with this appointment, to advance "young and excellent" officials within the ministry to top postings in order to motivate others.
Netanyahu said Melman is the first immigrant from the former Soviet Union to be appointed Israel's ambassador to one of the world's key capitals. In addition to Melman, the Foreign Ministry's appointments committee also named Rudika Radian, 45, as Israel's ambassador-designate to Romania. Radian is a native of Romania who immigrated to Israel as a child.
By filling the Moscow post, London remains the one high-profile embassy still awaiting an appointment. The contract of current ambassador Zvi Shtauber was extended recently by another six months.
One official said Netanyahu has decided not to make any political appointments until after the elections and it becomes clear who will be the next foreign minister. The name of Dalia Itzik, once a top contender for the post, dropped off the list of potential candidates when Shimon Peres left the ministry in November.