The White House on Wednesday officially announced that Dan Shapiro, one of President Barack Obama’s advisers, will become the next US ambassador to Israel.

The 41-year-old Shapiro has regularly traveled to Israel and worked closely with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell to try to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

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Shapiro first began working with Obama in 2007, when he coordinated Jewish outreach and advised his presidential campaign on Middle East issues. He speaks fluent Hebrew and has been a major point man for the US Jewish community in the White House, as well as for Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Both Jewish and Palestinian voices in America praised Shapiro last month when it became clear that he was going to become ambassador.

“Dan’s a great guy, a perfect choice,” said Steve Rabinowitz, who worked with Shapiro in the Clinton White House and attends the same Conservative synagogue as Shapiro does.

“He’s known the issues for many, many years,” Rabinowitz said. “He cares deeply about it, sees all sides, and really, I just don’t know a person in Washington or the region who doesn’t like him.”

“I have tremendous respect for Dan. He’s knowledgeable and he’s sensitive to the issues,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Hoenlein added, however, that he “would be sorry to see Shapiro leaving the administration, where he’s played a very important role.”


Ziad Asali, president of the American Task Force on Palestine, also welcomed Shapiro serving as US envoy to Israel.

“Dan will make an excellent ambassador. He has a grasp of the complexity of the game and knowledge of all the main players, and is committed to a peaceful resolution to the conflict,” Asali said. “Dan will make an excellent ambassador.”

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