US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides will leave his post in the summer after nearly two years on the job, he confirmed on Tuesday.
Nides said he will be leaving to spend more time with his family - his wife, son and daughter - who remained in the US while he was in Israel.
The ambassador arrived in Israel in December 2021 and has dealt with three prime ministers and two governments since then.
Tom Nides' time as an ambassador
He was known to be affable and on good terms with politicians across much of the political spectrum. However, he declined to meet with the National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich or their parties, because of their positions on Israeli Arabs, LGBT people and more.
Nides was instrumental in US President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel last year, and has mediated between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Biden administration at a time of tensions over the government’s planned judicial reforms.
The ambassador courted controversy when he called on the government to “pump the brakes” on the reform, but last week, he said in a speech that Israeli democracy is “alive and well.”
Nides also advocated for Israel to join the Visa Waiver Program, allowing visa-free travel between Israel and the US. While Israel has made advances towards joining the program, the process is unlikely to be completed before he leaves.
The ambassador often spoke of incremental, positive steps Israel can take to improve the Palestinians’ situation, and therefore pushed for Israel to drastically extend the opening hours of the Allenby Crossing from Jordan. He also sought for Israel to allow Palestinians to access 4G mobile Internet, which has yet to occur.
Emphasizing the importance of bipartisan support for Israel in the US, Nides joined former ambassador David Friedman at the March of the Living earlier this year.
Nides was also known for his weekly “Shabbat Shalom” video, which he filmed in locations across Israel, such as one with butterflies at the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem or another packing Rosh Hashanna food packages for the poor with Leket Israel.