Arthur Lenk

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Arthur Lenk
Israeli ambassador to South Africa
In office
Preceded by Dov Segev-Steinberg
Succeeded by Lior Keinan
Personal details
Born 1964
United States Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.

Arthur Lenk (Hebrew: ארתור לנק‎, born 1964), is an Israeli diplomat who served as Israel's ambassador to South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland from August 2013 to July 2017. He served as the fourth ambassador of the State of Israel to the Republic of Azerbaijan from August 2005 to 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 Israel 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, 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 that 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 and Swaziland. He submitted his credentials to the President of South Africa Jacob Zuma on 16 October 2013. He submitted his credentials to the King of Swaziland Mswati III on 27 February 2014. He submitted his credentials to the King of Lesotho Letsie III on 2 July 2015. Lenk vocally promoted trade and development opportunities for South Africa with Israel, emphasizing topics like water management, technology and agriculture as areas where Israeli innovation has positively impacted life across Africa. During the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict Lenk played an active role in representing Israel's position in South African traditional and social media.[8]

In June 2016, Lenk led a special Israel-South African Water Week event bringing top Israeli water management experts to South Africa to share the country's experiences in combating drought. The events, held in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, brought water experts from the two countries together. In April 2017, Ambassador Lenk led a large Israeli trade delegation to Swaziland, for the first ever bilateral trade seminar between the two countries.


External links[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Israel Softball Association website, Hebrew Archived February 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Report of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee, 30 April 2001, State Department Website Archived January 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "Commemoration of the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Liberation of the Nazi Concentration Camps". United Nations General Assembly. 24 January 2005. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "Arafat denounces Israeli siege". BBC News. 24 June 2002. Retrieved 30 September 2014.  See video of interview in Real Media, upper right box: Arthur Lenk, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman "The way the Palestinians can help their people is to stop the violence."
  5. ^ Interview Archived May 1, 2005, at the Wayback Machine., "Le droit humanitaire est trop politique", Le Monde, 29 June 2004 (in French)
  6. ^ Cabinet Communique Archived March 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., Prime Minister's Office, 3 April 2005 (in Hebrew)
  7. ^ Israel's foreign trade figures from website of Central Bureau of Statistics
  8. ^ Article on social media interaction in The Daily Maverick
Preceded by
Eitan Naeh
Ambassador of Israel to Azerbaijan
2005 - 2009
Succeeded by
Michael Lavon - Lotem
Preceded by
Dov Segev-Steinberg
Ambassador of Israel to South Africa
2013 - 2017
Succeeded by
Lior Keinan