Biden to nominate former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew as ambassador to Israel

President Biden will nominate Obama-era Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to be the U.S. ambassador to Israel, the White House announced Tuesday. 

If confirmed, Lew — now a managing partner at Lindsay Goldberg LLC and a visiting professor at Columbia University — would fill a position left nearly three months ago by former ambassador Tom Nides. Lew is a co-president of the board of the National Library of Israel USA, as well as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. 

Lew, 68, will become ambassador if confirmed at a time when the U.S.-Israel relationship requires skillful navigation. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s government is trying to push through a judicial overhaul that the Biden administration opposes. Netanyahu’s government is trying to remove the Supreme Court’s power to review and overrule decisions made by government ministers. 

A future U.S. ambassador to Israel is also likely to help manage efforts to normalize the relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. goal in the Middle East. 

A number of Republicans have voiced their opposition to Lew being named ambassador to Israel. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a phone call with Netanyahu on Tuesday, according to the State Department. 

Lew has extensive experience working in Democratic administrations, as Obama’s chief of staff and as a top official at the Office of Management and Budget under both Obama and former President Bill Clinton. 

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