Hearing Takes Place for U.S. Ambassador to Israel

October 19, 2023
Jack Lew in opening statement at hearing

At this moment, there is no greater mission than to be asked to strengthen the ties between the United States and the State of Israel and to work toward peace in a region that has known so much war and destruction.

Jacob Lew, who served as treasury secretary under President Barack Obama, in his opening statement at Wednesday’s hearing for the job of U.S. ambassador to Israel. The U.S. has not had an ambassador to Israel since July.

Why It Matters: Pres. Biden nominated Lew, an Orthodox Jew, in early September, but efforts to solidify his role as ambassador to Israel ramped up when Hamas attacked Israel on October 7. Lew’s confirmation hearing included questions concerning his role in helping implement the 2015 Iran nuclear pact under the Obama administration; the Iran nuclear pact – which “provided Iran with a path to sanctions relief, in exchange for opening its nuclear program to inspectors and abandoning plans to build a nuclear weapon” – was abandoned during the Trump administration (CNBC). The Senate committee, consisting of a Democrat majority, plans to vote next week on whether to send Lew’s nomination to the Senate at large.

From Both Sides: Sen. James Risch (ID), the committee’s top Republican, expressed concerns: “We need this thing filled. The problem I have is, it needs to be filled with the right person. The only thing worse than having it empty would be having the wrong person there and I have some issues in that regard.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) said, “Delaying him [Lew] would be egregious at a time like this,” describing him as “a ferocious ally of Israel.

Read More:

Biden’s Nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Israel Is Grilled by Senators (The New York Times)

Biden’s pick to be ambassador to Israel tells senators he’ll ensure the US ally ‘has what it needs’ (The Associated Press)

by Emily Hooker, based in Texas