U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew as his nominee to be ambassador to Israel, picking a high-profile political figure for the post at a time of tense relations between the two countries.
Lew, who must be confirmed by the Senate, will face a complicated political situation, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushes through a judicial overhaul opposed by many Israelis and the Biden administration.
He would succeed Ambassador Tom Nides in the post.
The Senate’s Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, welcomed the announcement in remarks as the Senate reopened after its August recess.
“Mr. Lew is precisely the person for the job of ambassador to Israel we need,” Schumer said.
Schumer gave no timetable for a vote on Lew’s confirmation, which would take place after a hearing and vote in the Foreign Relations Committee.
In addition to serving as Treasury secretary, Lew under former President Barack Obama was a White House chief of staff and deputy secretary of state for management and resources.
Lew was director of the Office of Management and Budget in President Bill Clinton’s cabinet from 1998 to 2001. In both the Democratic Clinton and Obama administrations, Lew served on the National Security Council.
Earlier, as special assistant to Clinton, he was an architect of the national service program, Americorps.