Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testifies before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be the next U.S. ambassador to Israel, on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., on Oct. 18, 2023.
Leah Millis | Reuters
WASHINGTON — Former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew was confirmed by the Senate Tuesday to serve as President Joe Biden’s ambassador to Israel at a critical time for the enduring U.S.-Israel alliance.
Lew, 68, served as treasury secretary in the Obama administration, and as White House budget director in two Democratic administrations.
A lot has changed in Israel in the nearly two months since Biden nominated Lew on Sept. 5. A surprise attack by Hamas Oct. 7 left more than 1,400 people dead in Israel, nearly all of them civilians.
In response, Israel vowed to destroy the militant group. Over the past three weeks, Gaza has been under near constant air strikes by the Israeli military.
The Palestinian Health Ministry reports more than 8,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the start of the Hamas-Israel War. Earlier this week, Israel began a new phase in its military operation, a ground offensive into Gaza.
Speaking at his Senate confirmation hearing Oct. 18, Lew said Israel’s security was a “paramount” concern for the United States.
“I will do my utmost to end the horrific attacks by Hamas and to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself,” he told the senators, “and I will spare no effort in working to help American citizens now captive to return home safely.”
The United States has been without a Senate-confirmed ambassador to Israel since July, when Tom Nides departed the post. Stephanie Hallett, a career diplomat, has served in the interim.