Arthur Lenk

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Arthur Lenk
Israeli Ambassador to South Africa
In office
2013 – current
Preceded by Dov Segev-Steinberg
Personal details
Born 1964
United States Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
Religion Judaism

Arthur Lenk (Hebrew: ארתור לנק‎, born 1964), is an Israeli diplomat who is currently Israel's Ambassador to South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mauritius. He served as the fourth ambassador of the State of Israel to the Republic of Azerbaijan from August 2005 - July 2009. He then served as Director of the Department of International Law in the Office of the Legal Adviser of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Arthur Lenk was born to a Jewish-American family in Paterson, New Jersey, and attended the Frisch School in Paramus. He made Aliyah, emigrating to Israel in 1983.

Lenk served as a medic in the Israel Defense Forces and first aid instructor at the IDF's officer training school between 1984 and 1986. Lenk then studied law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, gaining an LL.B. in 1990, and an LL.M. in International Law in 2003. In 1991, he became a member of the Israeli Bar, and was admitted to the New York Bar in 1992. He then began working as a lawyer in Jerusalem. Between 1992 and 1996, Lenk served as Chairman of the Israel Softball Association. He was named to the organization's Hall of Fame in July 2005.[1]

Lenk is married to Ruth and they have three daughters: Margalit, Ilana and Aiden.


Lenk joined the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a foreign service cadet and participated in the Foreign Officer Training Program in 1994. In 1996, he was sent to the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, India where he served as Second Secretary for Cultural and Academic Affairs. In 1998, he transferred to the Consulate General of Israel to the Southwestern United States, Los Angeles, California where he served as Consul for Communications and Public Affairs until 2000.

Following this post, Lenk worked as an attorney in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem. In 2000-01 Lenk took part in Israel's interaction with the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee ("The Mitchell Committee") which examined reasons for the start of violence in the region beginning in the autumn of 2000.[2] His primary responsibility was giving legal advice on United Nations related issues. He also acted as Israel's representative to the United Nations General Assembly's Legal Committee in 2001 and 2004. Furthermore, Lenk worked as part of the Israel Government's legal team on Israel's position regarding the Israel barrier case before the International Court of Justice in 2003 and 2004.

Lenk was awarded an "outstanding diplomat" citation by Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his role within a group that coordinated Israel's initiative for the January 2005 United Nations Special Session commemorating the Sixtieth Anniversary of the freeing of Europe's Concentration Camps.[3]

Between 2002 and 2005 Lenk also served as an Israeli Government spokesman and a lecturer on foreign affairs and diplomacy, briefing and appearing on a range of international media sources including CNN, BBC,[4] Le Monde[5] and NPR. In the fall semester of 2003, he also taught a graduate seminar in “Foreign Policy, International Law and the Arab-Israel Conflict”, at the Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, in Beersheba.

Lenk was appointed as Israel's fourth Ambassador to Azerbaijan by the Israeli Government on 3 April 2005.[6] He submitted his credentials to the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on 13 September 2005.

Lenk's tenure in Azerbaijan has coincided with a significant development of the relations between the two countries. A number of key visits took place highlighted by the historic visit of President Shimon Peres to Baku on 28–29 June 2009. Peres led a delegation which included three ministers and a large business delegation. Other visits to Baku were those of Israel's Minister of Agriculture Shalom Simhon in May 2008, Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman in August 2007 and two visits of the Minister of National Infrastructures Binyamin Ben-Eliezer in June 2006 and June 2008 and visits of Azerbaijan's Ministers of Economic Development (February 2007), Emergency Situations (March 2007), Transportation (June 2007) and Ecology and Natural Resources (October 2007) to Israel. Additionally, an association of Azerbaijani immigrants to Israel, AZIS, was formed in April 2007, to serve as a bridge between the societies and promote relations. Trade ties also dramatically grew with Israel significantly increasing its energy purchases from Azerbaijan and developing investment and exports in a number of sectors including agriculture, infrastructure and telecommunications. According to figures published by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, Israeli exports to Azerbaijan grew by nearly 5000 percent during Lenk's tenure as Ambassador.[7]

Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Israeli Exports $5.4m $28.0m $82.6m $128.3m $264.0m

Serving as the Director of the Department of International Law in the Office of the Legal Adviser of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lenk rejoined the Office of the Legal Adviser following the conclusion of his tenure as Israel's Ambassador to Azerbaijan in 2009, and worked from 2010 through 2013 as the Ministry's Director of the Department of International Law. He was seconded to work during 2010-2011 as a staff member on the UN Secretary General's Panel of Inquiry on the Gaza flotilla raid.

In August 2013, he arrived in Pretoria to begin serving as Israel's Ambassador to South Africa and non-resident ambassador to Lesotho, Mauritius and Swaziland.


  • "Chances for SA and Israel",[8] The Citizen, 4 September 2013.
  • "Azerbaijan as a model"[9] Haaretz (Hebrew), 28 June 2009, Zerkalo (Russian), Express (Azerbaijani), 1 July 2009.
  • "Hateful words...and an opportunity",[10] 525 (Azerbaijani), Echo (Russian), 26 September 2008.
  • "Israel at 60: Azerbaijan is a key in our looking forward", Yeni Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani),[11] Express (Azerbaijani), Zerkalo (Russian), 8 May 2008.
  • "A New Beginning for Peace in the Middle East", Yeni Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani),[12] 525 (Azerbaijani), Echo (Russian), 27 November 2007.
  • "Iran's regional threat", Yeni Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani), Ayna (Azerbaijani),[13] Zerkalo (Russian), 29 June 2007.
  • "Iran's extreme leaders reject history", Echo (Russian), Ekspress[14] (Azerbaijani), 20 and 21 December 2006.
  • “Hizbullah must be stopped”, Yeni Azerbaycan, (Azerbaijani), Kaspiy (Russian), Kaspy (Azerbaijani), 25 July 2006
  • “Israel and Azerbaijan: Cooperation serves the interests of our countries”, Ekspress (Azerbaijani), Kaspiy[15] (Russian), 3 May 2006.
  • “The Iranian threat to destroy Israel”, Zerkalo (Russian) 1 November 2005
  • “My tale of two courts”, The Guardian[16] 15 July 2004
  • “Political Misuses of International Law: The Development of the ‘Crime’ of Population Transfer”, 1 Eyes on the ICC 71 (2004).
  • “Prime Minister Sharon and the Belgian ‘Tool’ of Law”, The Forward,[17] 28 February 2003.
  • “Fact-finding as a Tool in Peace Negotiation – The Mitchell Report and the Israel-Palestinian Peace Process”, 24 Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Review[18] 289 (2002).

External links[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Israel Softball Association website, Hebrew
  2. ^ Report of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee, 30 April 2001, State Department Website
  3. ^ Website, United Nations Special Session commemorating the Sixtieth Anniversary of the freeing of Europe's Concentration Camps
  4. ^ TV Interview, "The way the Palestinians can help their people is to stop the violence", BBC News, 24 June 2002, see video of interview in Real Media, upper right box.
  5. ^ Interview, "Le droit humanitaire est trop politique", Le Monde, 29 June 2004 (French)
  6. ^ Cabinet Communique, Prime Ministers Office, 3 April 2005 (Hebrew)
  7. ^ Israel's foreign trade figures from website of Central Bureau of Statistics
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ English translation of oped, in Hebrew from Haaretz, 28 June 2009. In Russian Zerkalo, and in Azerbaijani Express,
  10. ^ English translation of oped, in Azerbaijani from 525, 26 September 2008. 525 published a response from the Iranian Embassy on 3 October 2008.
  11. ^ English translation of oped, 8 May 2008.
  12. ^ English translation of oped, 27 November 2007.
  13. ^ English translation of oped, 29 June 2007. On 7 July 2007, Majid Feyzullahi, Press Officer of the Iranian Embassy in Baku published a response to this article in Yeni Azerbaijan entitled "Who is a regional threat – Iran or the Zionist regime?"
  14. ^ English language version, published in Azerbaijani and Russian on 20–21 December 2006.
  15. ^ Oped, from Kaspiy, 3 May 2006, (Russian)
  16. ^ Oped, from The Guardian5 July 2004
  17. ^ Oped, from The Forward8 February 2003
  18. ^ Website of Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Review,
Preceded by
Eitan Naeh
Ambassador of Israel to Azerbaijan
2005 - 2009
Succeeded by
Michael Lavon - Lotem