Senate Confirms Jacob Lew, Ex-Treasury Secretary Under Obama, as U.S. Ambassador to Israel

by Michael Nguyen
Jacob Lew Confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to Israel

In a critical diplomatic move, the United States Senate has approved Jacob Lew to serve as the ambassador to Israel, a position crucially significant amidst the ongoing conflict with Hamas.

Formerly serving as the treasury secretary under President Barack Obama, Lew secured confirmation through a Senate vote of 53-43.

Lew committed to standing in solidarity with Israel’s leadership, especially in light of Hamas’s unexpected attack on October 7. During his confirmation hearings in mid-October, Lew asserted that his immediate priority would be to reinforce the bilateral relationship between the United States and Israel.

Jacob Lew, commonly known as Jack, was nominated by President Joe Biden last month to occupy the role vacated by Tom Nides in July. Democrats argue that Lew’s extensive experience in public service, which includes his previous roles as Obama’s chief of staff and budget director under both Obama and President Bill Clinton, uniquely qualifies him for the ambassadorial post during this pivotal period in U.S.-Israeli relations.

John Kirby, the spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council, stated post-confirmation that the administration looks forward to Lew commencing his diplomatic efforts, both to assist Israel in its struggle against Hamas and to lead the U.S. initiatives in providing humanitarian aid to Gaza’s residents.

Although confirmed, Lew faced criticism from Republicans for his involvement in negotiating the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement while in the Obama administration. Given that Iran is a principal supporter of Hamas, the deal was later abandoned by former President Donald Trump. Idaho Senator Jim Risch, the leading Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, voiced his opposition, stating that Lew was an inappropriate choice given the current geopolitical tensions surrounding Iran.

In contrast, Senator Ben Cardin, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a Democrat from Maryland, lauded Lew for garnering support from Israeli leaders and emphasized his suitability to strengthen the U.S.-Israel alliance.

During the confirmation hearing, Lew stood by his previous policy actions and labeled Iran as a malevolent government that threatens regional stability and Israel’s existence. He also extended his condolences to the civilians affected by the ongoing hostilities on both sides, emphasizing that any resolution must ensure Israel’s security.

Being of Jewish descent, Lew confessed in his hearing that the issue of Israel’s security has consistently been a matter of personal concern throughout his life.

This report includes contributions from Big Big News writer Aamer Madhani.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Jacob Lew Confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to Israel

What is Jacob Lew’s background and previous government roles?

Jacob Lew, commonly known as Jack, served as the treasury secretary under President Barack Obama. He also held the position of chief of staff to President Obama and White House budget director under both President Obama and President Bill Clinton. His extensive government experience spans multiple high-ranking roles.

Why is Jacob Lew’s appointment significant at this time?

Jacob Lew’s appointment as the U.S. ambassador to Israel is particularly significant due to the ongoing conflict with Hamas. This appointment comes as a crucial diplomatic move to reinforce the United States’ support for Israel during this challenging period.

What was Jacob Lew’s stance on U.S.-Israeli relations during his confirmation hearings?

During his confirmation hearings, Jacob Lew expressed his commitment to standing side by side with Israel’s leaders in the face of the militant group’s attack. He emphasized that at that moment, strengthening the ties between the United States and Israel was of utmost importance.

How did the confirmation process for Jacob Lew unfold?

Jacob Lew’s confirmation as U.S. ambassador to Israel was confirmed by the Senate with a vote of 53-43. This reflected the Senate’s approval of his appointment to this key diplomatic position.

What were the criticisms and concerns raised about Jacob Lew’s appointment?

Critics, particularly Republicans, raised concerns about Jacob Lew’s previous involvement in the Iran nuclear agreement negotiated during the Obama administration. They argued that his stance on Iran was contrary to their views on how to handle the Iranian government, especially given its role as the chief sponsor of Hamas.

How did supporters of Jacob Lew’s appointment justify his suitability for the role?

Supporters, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ben Cardin, praised Jacob Lew for his qualifications, strong relationships with Israeli leaders, and his capacity to bolster the U.S.-Israel alliance. They cited his extensive government experience and commitment to addressing the current geopolitical challenges in the region.

What was Jacob Lew’s perspective on Iran during his confirmation hearings?

During the confirmation hearings, Jacob Lew labeled Iran as an “evil, malign government” and acknowledged the threat it posed to regional stability and Israel’s existence. This characterization underlines the seriousness with which he views the Iranian government’s actions.

How has Jacob Lew’s Jewish heritage influenced his stance on Israel?

Jacob Lew, who is of Jewish descent, expressed that Israel’s security has always been at the forefront of his concerns throughout his life. This personal connection to the issue further underscores his dedication to strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship.

More about Jacob Lew Confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to Israel

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Sarah O'Conner November 1, 2023 - 6:40 pm

I’m not so sure about this appointment. Lew was part of that Iran deal that we later pulled out of. i mean, can we really trust his judgment now? its complicated.

John Smith November 2, 2023 - 6:32 am

Incredible to see how Jacob Lew’s past experience is shaping his role as an ambassador. Truly, there couldn’t be a more critical time for someone of his caliber to step in. You’ve got to admit, the guy’s got quite the resume!

Michael Chen November 2, 2023 - 6:55 am

A very well rounded article, touching on all aspects from his past roles to the current situation with Hamas. This appointment’s gonna have a big impact, no doubt.

Emily Davis November 2, 2023 - 10:20 am

So, he’s Jewish and has always been concerned about Israel. That’s good and all


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