Biden picks former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew as ambassador to Israel

President Biden on Tuesday tapped former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to serve as his next ambassador to Israel, pending confirmation by the Senate.

Lew served as Treasury secretary during the Obama administration from 2013-17. He was also director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1998 to 2001 during the Clinton administration and was a principal at the National Security Council in both presidencies.

Prior to his government work, Lew served as managing director and chief operating officer for two Citigroup business units. He is co-president of the board of the National Library of Israel USA and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Lew was confirmed as Treasury secretary in 2013 with bipartisan support in a 71-26 vote. He will need the support of at least 50 senators in a narrowly divided Senate this time around to earn confirmation to the ambassador post.

If confirmed, Lew would replace Tom Nides, Biden’s first ambassador to Israel, who departed the post after two years.

He would take over the ambassadorship at a tense time in U.S.-Israel relations. The Biden White House has been adamant that Israel is a critical ally, but the president and top aides have expressed concerns about judicial reforms pushed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration that would curb the independence of the judiciary.

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