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U.S.-Israel relations

US Senate confirms Nides as new ambassador to Israel

Nides pledges support for Iron Dome and Abraham Accords as Israeli officials welcome his confirmation

Thomas Nides testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 22, 2021. (Photo: screenshot Youtube)

The U.S. Senate confirmed Thomas R. Nides as the country's ambassador to Israel on Wednesday, a candidate that many Israelis praised as a good choice for the Jewish nation.

Government officials welcomed the confirmation of Nides who was nominated by President Joe Biden back in June.

"Congratulations to Ambassador Tom Nides on his confirmation as the next U.S. ambassador to Israel," Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Twitter. "I look forward to welcoming you to Jerusalem and to working together to strengthen and deepen the special relationship between our two countries."

Gilad Erdan, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations and the U.S. congratulated Nides as well.

"I wish you much success in your role and a fruitful tenure at the U.S. Embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem," he wrote on Twitter. "I’m sure that you will further strengthen the special bond between Israel and the U.S."

During his confirmation hearing at the Senate Foreign Relation Committee, Nides said he is in favor of replenishing Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system, vowed to support the Abraham Accords, and is opposed to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. He pledged to continue “advancing the bonds between our people,” including waiving visas for Israelis and promoting the Abraham Accords.

In an interview after Nides' nomination, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Danny Ayalon had told ALL ISRAEL NEWS that Nides is “sharp, quick-thinking and high caliber in Washington” with a geopolitical understanding that suits Israel.

“In the past, some ambassadors called on D.C. to pressure the Israeli government,” Ayalon said. “Nides is experienced enough to understand the geopolitics.”

Nides was nominated around the same time the new Israeli government was formed with Naftali Bennett as prime minister.

While Nides will most likely not follow in the path of his predecessor – the right-wing David Friedman who worked with President Donald Trump to render several pro-Israel decisions – he will be a friend to Israel, Ayalon said.

“At the end of the day, every ambassador has to reflect – in broad brush strokes – his president,” he said.

“Biden certainly is not Trump, but Nides is a guy who will solve issues without getting into unnecessary arguments like Obama,” Ayalon added, saying that “during my time (working with Nides) even if we didn’t agree on something, we agreed to disagree.”

Nides was born in Duluth, MN. Throughout his career, he has served in both the public and private sectors – primarily in finance – and now is set to become the third consecutive Jewish American to serve in the ambassador role, following Friedman (2017-2021) and Dan Shapiro (2011-2017).

The White House describes Nides as “a distinguished public servant and business leader.” Nides was most recently the managing director and vice-chairman of Morgan Stanley. During his career in the State Department, he served as deputy secretary of state for Management and Resources under Hillary Clinton. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. 

During Obama’s administration, Nides helped get the administration’s approval to extend loan guarantees worth billions of dollars for Israel, according to the Jewish News Syndicate

Arnold Nides, his late father, owned a finance company and was president of the Duluth Temple Israel and the Duluth Jewish Federation.

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

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