Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan on Thursday assumed the role of ambassador to the United States, taking over from Ron Dermer, who held the position for the past seven years.

This is the first time in 50 years that an Israeli diplomat has held both positions.

Erdan takes office at a particularly sensitive time, as Joe Biden takes over from Donald Trump as U.S. president. Jerusalem fears that his policies may be much less favorable to Israel than his predecessor’s.

By way of preparation, Erdan is said to have been holding meetings with senior Democratic Party officials.

Erdan will be tasked with bolstering bipartisan support for Israel in the United States.

Dermer is expected to return to Israel with his family after eight years in Washington.

In a video celebrating the end of Dermer’s tenure as ambassador, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised his close adviser.

“I can tell you unequivocally that among some extraordinary people who served in that post, none has been better than Ron Dermer,” said Netanyahu. “I am choosing my words carefully because I think he’s been an extraordinary ambassador. What he did for Israel, what he did for the Israel-American alliance, what he did for all of us is something that is not widely known, at least not in Israel.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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