Senate Confirms Ambassador to Israel

2 Republicans voted with Democrats to confirm Jack Lew
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2023 3:08 PM CDT
Jack Lew Confirmed as Ambassador to Israel
Then-Secretary of the Treasury and Council Chairperson Jack Lew speaks during the Financial Stability Oversight Council at the Treasury Department in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016.   (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

The Senate has confirmed an ambassador to Israel, filling a post that had been vacant since July at a crucial time for the US-Israel alliance. Former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who served in the Obama administration, was confirmed in a 53-44 vote, with Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul voting with Democrats, the Hill reports. Other Republicans criticized Lew for his role in negotiating the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, reports the AP. "This is the wrong person at the wrong time in the wrong place," said Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "The last thing we need is somebody who is very contrary to our view about how Iran should be handled."

During a confirmation hearing, Lew defended his work in the Obama administration and described Iran's government as "evil." Iran, he said "is a threat to regional stability and to Israel's existence." Lew, who is Jewish, was nominated by President Biden last month. "With Israel defending itself against Hamas, this ambassadorship is as important and timely as any nomination that the Senate has confirmed in a long time," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby also praised the confirmation of Lew. The administration is eager for him "to get on the ground and start leading our efforts to support Israel and their fight against Hamas, but also to help us integrate and continue to lead the effort to get humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza," Kirby said, per the AP. (More Jack Lew stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.