Dan Shapiro 311 [file].
(photo credit: Courtesy)
New US envoy to Israel Daniel Shapiro is scheduled to arrive in the country
Wednesday to become the 18th US ambassador to serve here.
RELATED:'US made a really concerted effort to support Israel'Clinton swears in Dan Shapiro as US Ambassador to Israel
one of US President Barack Obama’s closest Middle East confidants, will be only
the fifth political appointment – rather than career foreign service officer –
named to the post. The last political appointee was Martin Indyk, who served two
stints here under Bill Clinton.
Shapiro is replacing James Cunningham,
who left earlier this month after three years to take up the number two post at
the US embassy in Kabul.
Shapiro – who was active in the Washington
Jewish community, a member of the Conservative Adas Israel Synagogue and sent
his children to Jewish day schools – will be accompanied by his wife and three
children. He is expected to submit his credential to President Shimon Peres at a
Before arriving in Tel Aviv, Shapiro was Senior Director for
the Middle East and North Africa on the National Security Staff at the White
House, where he advised Obama and other senior US officials on US policy in the
Since Obama came to power in 2009, Shapiro has been integrally
involved in shaping the administration’s Middle East policies, traveling
frequently to the region with former Middle East envoy George Mitchell and being
a central point of contact in the White House for Israeli
Shapiro first began working with Obama in 2007, when he
coordinated Jewish outreach and advised his presidential campaign on Middle East
issues. In August 2008 Obama appointed him a senior policy adviser and
coordinator of Jewish outreach, where he worked hard to dispel doubts in the
Jewish community about Obama’s commitment to Israel. Obama garnered an estimated
78 percent of the Jewish vote in the 2008 elections.
Prior to his
involvement with Obama, Shapiro – who has a BA in Near Eastern and Judaic
Studies from Brandeis, and a MA in Middle Eastern politics from Harvard –worked
as a Washington lobbyist as well as in several Congressional offices and the
National Security Council during the Clinton administration.
deputy chief of staff to Sen. Bill Nelson (DFlorida), he has also been a staff
adviser to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and former House Foreign Affairs
Committee chairman Lee Hamilton (D-Indiana).
Shapiro spent his sophomore
year at Hebrew University, something US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
alluded to during comments at a swearing in ceremony at the State Department for
Shapiro earlier this month.
“At Hebrew University during the first
intifada, Dan and his classmates spent many hours discussing how Israelis and
Palestinians could one day live in peace, side-by-side.
Dan has seen
firsthand that the status quo is unsustainable,” she said.
fluent Hebrew and some Arabic.