Israel’s President Isaac Herzog on Sunday received the diplomatic credentials of the incoming U.S. Ambassador Jacob J. (Jack) Lew in Jerusalem.
Against the backdrop of Israel's war with the Hamas terror organization in Gaza, the ceremony was held in the President’s Residence without the traditional honor guard and national anthems.
Lew was narrowly confirmed on Tuesday to replace Tom Nides, who left the post for personal reasons earlier this year.
The U.S. Senate voted to approve the appointment of Lew with a majority of 53 in favor and 43 against, made possible by two Republicans - Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul, who joined the Democrats in supporting him.
“Ambassador Lew, it’s a true honor to welcome you here today and receive your credentials here in Jerusalem. Welcome,” Herzog said at the ceremony in Jerusalem.
“I know of your record of excellence over many decades of public service in the United States, and of your deep connection to Israel and to the Jewish people,” he added.
Today I presented my credentials to @IsraelPresident @Isaac_Herzog. Representing the United States as Ambassador to Israel is a profound honor, particularly during this difficult moment in history. There is much to do — but we will do it together. The U.S. stands with Israel. pic.twitter.com/y4XI6iEJVH— Ambassador Jack Lew (@USAmbIsrael) November 5, 2023
Lew is an observant Orthodox Jew and has had some involvement in Israel-related policy issues while serving as deputy secretary of state and White House chief of staff.
However, Lew's professional expertise lies in the field of finances and budgeting, as he served as the U.S. secretary of the treasury under former President Barack Obama and later became COO at Citigroup.
“You deserve the full welcoming ceremony. But, unfortunately we both know that you arrive and begin your service here at a tipping point for Israel and the region, maybe for the world,” President Herzog told Lews
Lew spoke of his “deep appreciation of the importance of Israel” and “a deep respect for the people and history of this country.”
“This past month has tested Israel and it has also proven that the bond between our nations is unshakable. As two great democracies, we share values that underlie how we make decisions. That explains why we remain so close,” Lew said.
Reports that Lew’s nomination was being considered were met reservations by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).
Among other factors, the right-wing Jewish organization ZOA, cited Lew’s support for the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which labeled Judaism’s holiest places as “occupied Arab land” and Lew’s decision to send “planeloads with $1.7 billion of cash to Iran” during his term as treasury secretary.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.