In a significant move, US President Joe Biden has nominated Jack Lew, former US Treasury Secretary and Chief of Staff during the Obama administration, as the US Ambassador to Israel. This decision comes at a time of escalating tensions in US-Israel relations, setting the stage for a challenging confirmation process for Lew, with Republicans poised to scrutinize and contest Biden’s approach to Israel.
Frictions between President Biden and the right-wing government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have persisted for several months. These tensions are rooted in contentious judicial reforms and what Biden perceives as extremist positions held by certain members of Netanyahu’s government. Moreover, the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank has drawn sharp criticism from the United States. To address these issues, Biden and Netanyahu are slated to hold a face-to-face meeting in the United States this fall, marking their first in-person encounter in some time, although they share a decades-long history.
Despite these diplomatic strains, President Biden is actively working toward securing a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, with the overarching goal of fostering increased stability in the Middle East.
Jack Lew, who has been engaged in private equity endeavors in recent years, has refrained from making public comments on his nomination. If confirmed, he will take over from Tom Nides as the US Ambassador to Israel, who departed from the position earlier in the summer.
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