All eyes are on former Jew in the City All-Star Jacob Lew this morning, who was just appointed as the next US Ambassador to Israel.
Under the Obama administration, he served as secretary of the treasury as well as chief of staff. He also served as director of the Office of Management and Budget under both the Obama and Clinton administrations. In this position, Lew oversaw funding for the federal bureaucracy and negotiated budgets with Congress.
Evidently, he has a lot of experience negotiating, which is something he would definitely need to utilize in this new role. The goal for Lew is to make a Saudi-Israel deal happen, something akin to the Abraham Accords but more complex.
If confirmed by the Senate, he would be the fourth Jewish man in a row to serve in this position, following Tom Nides who left the role in July, David Friedman and Dan Shapiro.
Lew stood in defense of the Iran nuclear deal which was quite controversial in the Jewish community, and a deal Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opposed. He was even booed at the annual Jerusalem Post conference in New York when he defended the deal.
“The idea that somehow the Iran deal was not in Israel’s interest is something I disagree with,” Lew said in 2017 at a conference at Columbia University’s Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies. “I think Israel is safer today than it was before the deal when Iran was genuinely approaching having a nuclear weapon.”
That being said, Lew didn’t always agree with the Obama administration. In late 2016, Lew and Biden suggested vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning settlement building. The United States ended up abstaining and the resolution went through.
It’s Lew’s Orthodox Jewish values that were a key factor in his appointment in the Obama administration. “Maybe most importantly, as the son of a Polish immigrant, a man of deep and devout faith, Jack knows that every number on a page, every dollar we budget, every decision we make has to be an expression of who we wish to be as a nation, our values,” Obama said.
“As a father who is at home and has dinner with his girls, he values that Shabbat is my time being with my family,” Lew said in 2012 to JTA. “I could not ask for someone to be more respectful and supportive, and that’s the reason it works.”