Arye Mekel, a prominent diplomat and journalist whose seven-year tenure as Israeli consul general in Atlanta overlapped with the city’s hosting of the Olympic Games, died Sunday at 74. News reports pegged cancer as the cause of death.
“Here in Atlanta we are grateful for Ambassador Mekel’s contribution to the bilateral relations between Israel and the Southeast while serving as Israel’s Consul General in Atlanta from 1993-2000,” the Consulate General of Israel in Atlanta said in an email newsletter.
Mr. Mekel was his country’s ambassador to Greece from 2010-14 and consul general to New York and Israel’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, the consulate said. He had also served as foreign policy adviser to the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.
A journalist himself who served as director general of the Israeli Broadcasting Authority before coming to Atlanta at 47, Mr. Mekel in 1994 spoke with Global Atlanta about the economic opportunities created by Israel’s new ties with Jordan as outlined in the Washington Declaration signed at the White House. He was also optimistic about the 1994 agreement that transferred Israeli military rule to the Palestinian Authority.
In an interview, he described efforts by then-newly established American-Israel Chamber of Commerce (now Conexx) and the Arab-American Business & Professional Association to host a joint event promoting business exchanges and painted a picture of rapid economic growth and diminishing impact from efforts by Arab nations to boycott Israel.
Read the story in the Global Atlanta archive here.
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