update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

Biden considering Jack Lew as next ambassador to Israel

An observant Jew who served under presidents Clinton and Obama, he is the only candidate undergoing a background check.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with then-Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, June 18, 2014. Photo by Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy via Flash90.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with then-Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, June 18, 2014. Photo by Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy via Flash90.

The Biden administration is seriously considering nominating former Treasury Secretary Jacob “Jack” Lew for the position of U.S. ambassador in Israel.

While anonymous U.S. officials told Walla that U.S. President Joe Biden has yet to make a decision, Lew, 67—an Orthodox Jew who served in various positions under presidents Clinton and Obama—is the only candidate undergoing a comprehensive background check, the site reported.

Other names that have previously been floated around Washington include former Reps. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) and Steve Israel (D-N.Y.).

The White House and a spokesperson for Lew refused public comment on the matter, Walla said.

During a press conference last month, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hinted at the Biden administration’s intention to nominate an ambassador to Israel before the November 2024 presidential election.

Blinken accused Senate Republicans of blocking the confirmation of Biden’s candidates for various positions and said that “by the end of the summer, we expect Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon will all be without confirmed U.S. ambassadors.”

Citing personal reasons, Ambassador Thomas Nides announced his departure in May, noting that he had been away from his family for more than 500 days.

U.S. chargé d’affaires Stephanie Hallett, a career diplomat who previously served as deputy chief of mission in both Muscat, Oman, and in Nicosia, Cyprus, will head the embassy in Jerusalem until the U.S. Senate confirms an ambassador.

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