WASHINGTON - Illinois Democratic Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the son of an Israeli immigrant and an American Jew, has accepted US President-elect Barack Obama's offer to serve as White House chief of staff, Fox News reported Wednesday.
Chicago-born Emanuel, 49, even speaks a little Hebrew. His father, Benjamin, is an Israeli-born doctor. His mother, Martha, is an American Jew who works for a Chicago civil rights organization.
As a child, Emanuel received a Jewish education at a conservative school and spoke Hebrew with his father at home.
According to ABC News, "the sharp-tongued, sharp-elbowed, keenly intelligent veteran of the Clinton White House is said to have ambitions to some day be Speaker of the House, but he also has a keen sense of duty."
ABC's George Stephanopoulos was quoted as saying that Obama likes the fact that Emanuel "knows policy, knows politics, knows Capitol Hill" and has told associates that Emanuel would "have his back."
Orly Azoulay and Reuters contributed to the report