Jacob Lew, Biden’s Nominee for Ambassador to Israel, Pledges Security Assurance to Senators

by Michael Nguyen
Jacob Lew's nomination

Jacob Lew, President Joe Biden’s candidate for the ambassadorship to Israel, assured senators that, if confirmed, he would work diligently to guarantee Israel’s security and collaborate on ending the hostilities initiated by Hamas. Lew, who previously served as the Treasury Secretary under President Barack Obama, also committed to working with international stakeholders to alleviate the humanitarian crisis that has unfolded in Gaza due to Israeli military actions. His confirmation hearing took place at the same time as President Biden’s visit to Israel, aimed at reaffirming U.S. support and mitigating the tensions in the ongoing conflict with Hamas.

In his initial remarks, Lew emphasized that strengthening the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Israel and contributing to peace in a region marred by war was a high-priority mission.

The Senate is expediting the confirmation process for Lew, who was proposed by President Biden last month as a successor to Tom Nides, who vacated the ambassadorial post in July. Democrats argue that Lew’s extensive governmental background—including his terms as Obama’s Chief of Staff and Budget Director under both Obama and President Bill Clinton—makes him a suitable choice at this critical juncture in U.S.-Israel relations.

Senator Ben Cardin, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, underscored the exigency of the situation in Israel, remarking that Hamas had initiated a conflict. Cardin stressed the need for an official U.S. ambassador in Jerusalem to assist Israel in its wartime challenges, hostage situations involving Hamas, and growing tensions along its northern boundary with Hezbollah. He also highlighted the importance of continuing diplomatic normalization conversations that could enhance relations between Israel and other Arab nations.

However, some Republicans have expressed reservations about Lew’s nomination due to his involvement in negotiating the 2015 Iran nuclear deal during his tenure in the Obama administration. This skepticism could potentially delay the committee’s vote on his nomination, scheduled for the upcoming week.

President Biden’s intention to reestablish the Iran nuclear deal, originally undone by former President Donald Trump, has been put on hold for the moment, according to Lew. “Now is not the appropriate time for negotiations with Iran,” he stated.

Senator Jim Risch, the committee’s leading Republican, articulated his “reservations” about the nominee, particularly regarding his capability to address Israel’s longstanding and existential threats from Iran.

In the broader context, the White House has informed legislators that it is contemplating a funding request ranging between $90 billion and $100 billion for conflicts in Israel and Ukraine, as well as for Taiwan’s security against Chinese threats. Despite near-consensus support for Israel in Congress, the funding package may encounter obstacles, particularly from Republicans who oppose tying aid for Israel with the Ukrainian conflict. The legislative gridlock is further complicated by the recent upheaval in the House of Representatives following the unanticipated removal of Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell expressed his backing for bundled aid to Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan but emphasized that any such legislation would necessitate added provisions for U.S. border control.

Mitch McConnell refrained from declaring his stance on Lew’s confirmation.

Contribution to this report was made by Big Big News writer Seung Min Kim.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Jacob Lew’s nomination

Who is President Biden’s nominee for the U.S. Ambassador to Israel?

President Joe Biden has nominated Jacob Lew for the position of U.S. Ambassador to Israel. Jacob Lew previously served as the Treasury Secretary under President Barack Obama and has held other significant roles in government.

What did Jacob Lew promise during his Senate confirmation hearing?

Jacob Lew pledged to ensure Israel’s security and to collaborate on bringing an end to the hostilities initiated by Hamas. He also committed to addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza in coordination with international stakeholders.

Why is the Senate moving quickly to confirm Jacob Lew?

The Senate is expediting the confirmation process due to the critical nature of U.S.-Israel relations at this time. Lew’s extensive government experience is cited as making him well-suited for the role, especially in the current geopolitical climate.

What are some reservations Republicans have about Jacob Lew?

Some Republicans have expressed concerns regarding Lew’s involvement in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal while serving in the Obama administration. These reservations could potentially delay the Senate committee’s vote on his nomination.

What is the broader funding context surrounding this nomination?

The White House is contemplating a request for funding between $90 billion and $100 billion for conflicts in Israel and Ukraine, as well as for Taiwan’s security. Despite strong congressional support for Israel, the funding package may face obstacles due to partisan disagreements on its components.

What stance did Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell take on foreign aid and Lew’s nomination?

Mitch McConnell expressed support for a bundled aid package for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan but emphasized that such legislation should include additional provisions for controlling U.S. border immigration. He did not disclose his position on Lew’s nomination.

More about Jacob Lew’s nomination

  • Jacob Lew’s Biography
  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal
  • U.S.-Israel Relations
  • U.S. Foreign Aid Policy
  • Mitch McConnell’s Political Stances
  • Current Situation in Gaza
  • Ongoing Conflict with Hamas
  • U.S. Border Control Policy
  • Senate Confirmation Process for Ambassadors

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GinaLovesPolicy October 18, 2023 - 7:59 pm

McConnell backing the bundled aid is interesting, but what’s it really gonna take to get the whole package through?

SarahT October 18, 2023 - 11:45 pm

Funding request of up to $100 billion… That’s a lot of money. Where’s it all goin?

PoliticalJunkie99 October 19, 2023 - 3:33 am

Wow, this nomination couldn’t come at a more crucial time. But why the rush? makes u wonder.

AnonymousReader October 19, 2023 - 3:37 am

I’ll believe it when i see it. Too many promises, too little action.

MidWestMike October 19, 2023 - 5:22 am

Senate’s in a hurry huh? Hope they know what they’re doin’.

TechNerd22 October 19, 2023 - 9:52 am

Foreign aid and border control in the same bill? Now that’s some 4D chess by McConnell.

Rachel_InFinance October 19, 2023 - 2:21 pm

Lew’s government experience is impressive, but does he have what it takes to handle such a volatile situation.

Liberty4All October 19, 2023 - 3:01 pm

reservations about Lew are justified, specially after that Iran mess. Senate better think twice.

EcoWarrior October 19, 2023 - 5:27 pm

What about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza? Glad to hear Lew’s addressing it, but actions speak louder than words.

JohnDoe47 October 19, 2023 - 5:39 pm

Seriously, this is a big deal. Lew has a ton of experience but that Iran deal still a sore spot for many.


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