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Former Obama Treasury Secretary Jack Lew frontrunner to replace US ambassador to Israel

Current US ambassador Tom Nides will depart Israel this summer

Then- U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew speaks at a press conference during the 2016 G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Shanghai, China, Feb. 27, 2016. (Photo: Imagine China via Reuters)

Jack Lew, a former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, is the leading candidate to be nominated as the new U.S. ambassador to Israel, according to reports in Axios and the Times of Israel.

The post is vacant because the current ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, announced in May that he would step down from the job this summer in order to spend more time with his family, which did not make the move to Israel with him.

Multiple sources told the two outlets that Lew, who also served as White House chief of staff, could be nominated by U.S. President Joe Biden within weeks.

“The process is ongoing, but [Lew] is being vetted,” a source told the Times of Israel. Lew expressed his interest in the post to former White House colleagues.

Among the other candidates reportedly being considered is Stuart Eizenstat, a former ambassador to the European Union who is a special advisor on Holocaust issues, as well as former Democratic Reps. Robert Wexler, Steve Israel and Ted Deutch.

Lew is an observant Orthodox Jew and had some involvement with Israel-related policy issues as deputy secretary of state and White House chief of staff.

However, his professional expertise lies in the field of finances and budgeting. He served as secretary of the treasury and later worked at Citigroup. 

He is a partner at the private equity firm Lindsay Goldberg and is a visiting professor at Columbia University.

Over the years, Lew has expressed support for the State of Israel but has also been vocal in his criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for example when Netanyahu gave a speech to a joint session of Congress in 2015 and criticized Obama's Iran policy.

Lew has also condemned Israeli settlements, calling them illegal, and did not support former President Donald Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in 2017.

According to Axios, Lew's appointment is not yet final, while Biden's administration and a representative for Lew declined to comment.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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