An Orthodox Jew who served in Obama's Cabinet could be Biden's pick for new ambassador to Israel

Jack Lew, who also served as former President Barack Obama's chief of staff and as Treasury Secretary, is the leading candidate in the race to replace Tom Nides as ambassador to Israel. Lew, who speaks Hebrew, was in close contact with the Israeli ambassadors in Washington and has family in Israel – but it is possible that, despite everything, his appointment will be delayed in Congress ahead of the US election year

U.S. President Joe Biden is considering appointing Jack Lew as US ambassador to Israel. Lew, 68, is an Orthodox Jew, who previously held senior positions in Democratic administrations - including US Treasury Secretary and chief of staff under former President Barack Obama.
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Lew, among the few senior Democrats who are also Orthodox Jews, was in close contact with Israel's ambassadors in Washington. In addition, he also speaks Hebrew and has family in Israel. In his role as Treasury Secretary, he assisted Obama in issues related to security assistance to Israel and the imposition of sanctions on Iran. People who worked with him describe him as professional and brilliant, but also quiet and behind-the-scenes.
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ג'ק לו שגריר מיועד ארה"ב שר האוצר לשעבר ב ממשל אובמה
ג'ק לו שגריר מיועד ארה"ב שר האוצר לשעבר ב ממשל אובמה
Jack Lew was Treasury Secretary in the Obama administration
(Photo: AP/Charles Dharapak, File)
Obama's former chief of staff is not the only candidate and the White House continues to examine other candidates as well , but a senior administration official told Ynet that Jack Lew is now the leading candidate. Among the people whose names have previously been mentioned for the post of US ambassador to Israel are, among others, Kathy Manning, former president of the Jewish Federations of North America, and a member of the House of Representatives from North Carolina; Mark Ginsberg, former US ambassador to Morocco and the first Jewish ambassador appointed to serve in an Arab country; and Ted Deutsch , a former member of the House of Representatives from Florida, who today heads the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
Regardless of who is chosen to serve as US ambassador to Israel, the appointment is expected to encounter difficulties and delays from the Republicans in Congress, who will try to place sticks in the spokes of the wheels of the Biden administration in the run-up to the upcoming election year. Even so, the appointment of Lew, who is considered highly regarded even among Republicans, could go more smoothly.
Since Amb. Tom Nides left the position about three weeks ago, the embassy has been managed by Deputy Ambassador Stephanie Hallett. Nides announced the plan to leave his position at the beginning of May, and in closed conversations before his announcement he said: "I love the position and I love Israel and it has nothing to do with the political situation in Israel. It is because of my family who is in the US and I have been alone here for almost two years." Nides wife is a senior CNN network executive and his children also live in the US.
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תום ניידס
תום ניידס
Former US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides left his position nearly a month ago
(Photo: AP)
In a farewell interview with the Wall Street Journal about a month ago, the outgoing ambassador said that the Biden administration must intervene in Israeli domestic policy when it sees that Israel is "going off the rails" because of the judicial overhaul . At President Biden's bidding, Nides emphasized that "one of the messages I sent to the prime minister was to press the brakes, slow down the pace. Try to reach a consensus."
Nides admitted that it is rare for the U.S. government to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, but says the judicial overhaul has raised questions about Israel's democratic credentials and the relationship between it and the United States, which he calls "like relatives." The ambassador's words came a day after Joe Biden said that the government headed by Netanyahu is "the most extreme" that he can remember.
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