Michael Oren 311.
(photo credit: JP)
DENVER – A senior Israeli diplomat and his US counterpart said in a joint
interview on Wednesday that their greatest desire for the future of the region
was to see a peace deal signed between the Jewish state and its
Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren and US Ambassador to
Israel Dan Shapiro told an audience at the Jewish Federations of North America’s
General Assembly in Denver that they both hoped to see a US-brokered deal
between the Jewish state and Arab countries.
“I have a dream one day that
Dan and I will witness the signing of an agreement between Israel and its Arab
neighbors on the White House lawn,”said Oren.
“I share the same vision,”
During the interview the two diplomats spoke about growing
up in Jewish-American families and their strong ties to Israel. Oren, who was
born in the US and moved to Israel as an adult, told the American audience that
he wept when he had to give up his US citizenship in order to become Israel’s
ambassador to Washington.
“There was a very nice ceremony at the US
embassy in Tel Aviv. I cried, they hugged me,” he said. “They can take away my
passport but they can’t take away my Americanism, my love of
Shapiro, who is fluent in Hebrew, spoke about the profound
influence the year he spent studying at university in Israel had on him and how
his deep familiarity with the culture helps him communicate with its
Throughout the interview the two, who seemed cut from the same
cloth, agreed with one another on their outlook for the Middle East and
relations between their two countries.
They both dismissed claims that
ties between Israel and the US had been rocky since President Barack Obama
entered the White House, saying that both countries agreed on the
“On big issues like Iran and Israel’s security there’s
never been disagreement,” Oren said.
Each diplomat said he hoped the
series of uprisings across the Middle East known as the Arab Spring will produce
democratic regimes living at peace with the Jewish state.
Assembly, which began Sunday, has traditionally drawn some of the
highest-ranking politicians in the US and Israel but this year’s parley has seen
a wave of cancellations by big names, begging the question: Is it just bad luck
or something else? “There was scheduling problems with the Rabin memorial on
Wednesday,” explained Joe Berkofsky, JFNA’s spokesman.
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be here via video.” Netanyahu originally said
he would attend in person then canceled.
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom was
supposed to fill in but he also bailed at the last minute.