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update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

Israel’s foreign minister meets with interim US envoy

Outgoing Ambassador Thomas Nides transferred his authority to Stephanie Hallett on Friday.

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen meets with U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Stephanie Hallett in Jerusalem, July 24, 2023. Credit: MFA.
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen meets with U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Stephanie Hallett in Jerusalem, July 24, 2023. Credit: MFA.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met with U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Stephanie Hallett in Jerusalem on Monday, three days after Ambassador Thomas Nides ended his tenure with no replacement announced.

Cohen wished Hallett “success in her new position” and assured her that his door “would always be open to her to promote and strengthen the special relationship between Israel and the United States,” he said on Twitter.

The two diplomats discussed “expanding the circle of peace and normalization to additional Arab and Muslim countries,” as well as Israel’s entry into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, according to Cohen.

In a statement published on Friday, the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem noted that Hallett is “a career diplomat who previously served as deputy chief of mission in both Muscat, Oman, and in Nicosia, Cyprus.”

As chargé d’affaires, she will occupy the position until the U.S. Senate confirms an ambassador.

During a press conference last week, 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 President Joe Biden’s candidates 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, Nides announced his departure in May, noting that he had been away from his family for more than 500 days.

“We will all miss having him represent us in Israel, but I know he is looking forward to some well-deserved time with his family,” Blinken told the press at the time.

Over the course of his two-year posting, Nides worked with three prime ministers: Benjamin Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid.

Nides transferred his authority to Hallett on Friday, the U.S. embassy said.

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