Jacob (“Jack”) Lew, who the Senate confirmed as the new U.S. ambassador to Israel earlier this week, will likely travel to the Jewish state on Friday with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said on Wednesday.
“We are still working out some final details, but my expectation is that he will travel with us to the region when we leave Thursday and arrive Friday,” Miller told reporters during a press briefing at the State Department.
Blinken and his entourage are scheduled to arrive in Jerusalem on Friday for meetings with members of the Israeli government, followed by “other stops in the region,” said Miller.
The U.S. Senate confirmed Lew’s nomination on Tuesday. The final vote tally was 53-43, with several Republicans, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), voting with Democrats to approve U.S. President Joe Biden’s nominee.
Lew’s nomination was accelerated after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in southern Israel, during which the terror group killed more than 1,400 people, wounded thousands more and took as many as 250 back to the Gaza Strip as hostages.
Lew, a 67-year-old Orthodox Jew, was White House chief of staff under former President Barack Obama, and directed the Office of Management and Budget under Obama and former President Bill Clinton.
A managing partner of a private equity firm who trained as a lawyer, Lew is also a visiting international and public affairs professor at Columbia University. He further served as treasury secretary under Obama and was part of the National Security Council in two former administrations.
Lew has come under fire for defending the Iran nuclear deal, which he argued would make Israel safer, and for supporting Obama’s decision in 2016 not to veto United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which declared Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria illegal.