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Biden taps former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew as US ambassador to Israel

The White House announcement came as Secretary of State Antony Blinken held separate calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew looks on during a press conference after his meeting with the Greek Finance Minister in Athens on July 21, 2016.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden named former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew as his nominee for US ambassador Israel Tuesday, choosing an experienced former senior official to manage concerns over the Israeli government’s judicial overhaul plan and policies that are inflaming tensions with the Palestinians. 

Lew, a 68-year-old Orthodox Jew, served as former President Barack Obama’s chief of staff before he was tapped to lead the Treasury Department in 2013. He is currently a managing partner of New York private equity firm Lindsay Goldberg LLC and a visiting professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University. 

Lew also served as Obama’s White House budget director from 2010-2012, and held the same position under former President Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2001. After leaving the Clinton administration, Lew worked for Citigroup and New York University. In the 1980s, he was a top aide to then-House Speaker Tip O’Neill.

If confirmed by the US Senate, Lew would succeed Tom Nides, who in July stepped down after nearly two years in Jerusalem to spend more time with his family. Other names reportedly considered for the ambassadorship were former New York congressman Steve Israel and former Florida congressman Robert Wexler. 

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