14 Aug 2015

Mark Regev tipped to become Israeli ambassador to UK

Mark Regev, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman, is expected to become his country’s next ambassador to the UK, according to widespread reports.

Mark Regev

Mr Regev, who was born in Australia and emigrated to Israel in 1982, has a large international profile because of his media appearances on behalf of the Israeli government.

Outgoing ambassador Daniel Taub ended his term in July, and Mr Regev has been named in Israeli media reports as his most likely successor.

He has been a regular interviewee on Channel 4 News, questioned repeatedly throughout the 2014 Gaza conflict,

Mr Regev, 55, has described his role as Israeli government spokesman as “accidental”. His father, Martin Freiberg, was a Holocaust survivor and as a young man, he joined the socialist Jewish youth movement Habonim Dror.

‘Didn’t seem right’

When he moved to Israel as a 22-year-old, he changed his surname to Regev because his parents’ name sounded German, which he said “bothered me at the time…It didn’t seem right”.

He worked as a teacher at the Tel Katzir kibbutz in the disputed Golan Heights region of Syria that Israel occupies. Reports have suggested he was nicknamed Cyril.

“When you look back at and analyse what has happened to me since then, much of it is accidental,” he told the Jewish Chronicle in 2008: “I spent a year unsuccessfully doing a doctorate at Tel Aviv University. I never finished it.

“Had I been a better academic, I might never have joined the foreign service. Had my wife been in love with the kibbutz, we might never have left and I might still been teaching at high school.”

‘It’s bad news’

He responded to a newspaper job advert join the civil service in 1990 and rose quickly through the ranks of the diplomatic corps, serving at embassies in Beijing, Hong Kong and Washington before being appointed foreign ministry spokesman and then the prime minister’s spokesman.

Speaking about his media appearances, he once said that “usually when you see me, it’s bad news”. Here are some of our interviews with Mark Regev, during and after the Gaza conflict:

16 July 2014: following the deaths of four boys in a shell attack in Gaza, he said the Israeli military did not target civilians.

21 July 2014: he said Israel’s goal was peace and quiet for Israelis, while Hamas, which runs Gaza, was the antithesis of peace and reconciliation.

27 July 2014; he said Israel did not want to see any Palestinian casualties and suggested Hamas could be responsible for an attack at Beit Hanoun school.

3 August 2014: he told Channel 4 News an air strike on a school in Gaza, which killed 10 people, was targeted at Hamas terrorists and his government was investigating why civilians had died.

7 August 2014: he told told Krishnan Guru-Murthy that allegations of misbehaviour by Israeli soldiers must be investigated.

22 June 2015: he responded to UN claims that Israel may have committed war crimes in Gaza.

9 July 2015: he told Jon Snow that Hamas had provoked the Gaza conflict.