WASHINGTON – Senior White House adviser Dan Shapiro is set to be nominated as
the next US ambassador to Israel, Washington sources said on Tuesday.
sources spoke on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement has been
made, though one is expected soon.
Shapiro, born in 1969, currently
serves as the National Security Council’s senior director for the Middle East
and North Africa. He has regularly traveled to Israel and worked closely with US
Middle East envoy George Mitchell to try to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace
Shapiro first began working with US President Barack Obama when he
coordinated Jewish outreach and advised his presidential campaign on Middle East
issues. Shapiro, who speaks fluent Hebrew, has been a major point man for the US
Jewish community in the White House, as well as for Israeli and Palestinian
He is not seen as a controversial choice and is not expected
to face a major confirmation battle over his background, though many nominations
have been held up in the Senate for unrelated reasons and that could complicate
his confirmation as well.
Shapiro did not respond to a request for
Both Jewish and Palestinian voices in America praised Shapiro
“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
“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 seeShapiro] leaving the administration, where he’s played a very important
Ziad Asali, president of the American Task Force on Palestine,
welcomed Shapiro serving as US ambassador to Israel, though he stressed that no
official announcement had been made and his comments were based only on the
possibility that he would be named.
“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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