Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Washington — Former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is expected to be confirmed as U.S. ambassador to Israel on Tuesday after the Senate moved quickly to fill the post amid the war in Gaza.

President Biden nominated Lew in September amid strained relations between the U.S. and its key ally over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial plans to overhaul Israel’s judicial system and settlement expansion in the West Bank. 

The Oct. 7 terrorist attack by Hamas increased the urgency in confirming Mr. Biden’s pick. The U.S. has not had an ambassador in Israel since July, when Tom Nides stepped down after nearly two years on the job. 

Lew’s expected confirmation comes despite Republican opposition over his role in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal under President Barack Obama. During his confirmation hearing, Lew was grilled by Republicans on lifting sanctions on Iran as part of the agreement. Lew served as treasury secretary from 2013 to 2017.

“I want to be clear, Iran is a threat to regional stability and to Israel’s existence,” Lew told senators. 

Jack Lew testifies during his Senate Foreign Relations Committee nomination hearing to be the U.S. ambassador to Israel on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023.

Valerie Plesch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

When asked about restarting nuclear talks with Iran, Lew said that it’s not the appropriate time to be negotiating with the country, which provides weapons and funding to Hamas. 

“I believe deeply that an agreement to not have nuclear weapons would be a good thing. But this is not the moment,” he said. 

Iran is not “a rational economic player” but “an evil, malign government that funds its evil and malign activities,” he told lawmakers. 

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was the only Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to vote with Democrats in advancing his nomination last week.

“After meeting personally with Jack Lew, I found him to be a thoughtful individual who will strive to do his best to represent the United States in Israel,” Paul said in a statement. “I also believe it to be important to have an ambassador during the current crisis in Israel.”

Before leading the Treasury, Lew served as Obama’s chief of staff and as the director of the Office of Management and Budget in both the Clinton and Obama administrations. 

Since leaving the Obama administration, Lew has been managing partner at Lindsay Goldberg LLC, a visiting professor at Columbia University, a co-president of the board of the National Library of Israel USA and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. 

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The post Senate to vote on Jack Lew’s nomination to become U.S. ambassador to Israel appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

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