Jack Lew, an orthodox Jew and former US Treasury Secretary under Barack Obama, is the front-runner to become the country’s next ambassador to Israel.
A person close to the administration stated, “The process is ongoing, but [Lew] is being vetted,” confirming information from the news website Axios. who would ostensibly put Lew ahead of some of the other names who have been mentioned, such as former congressmen Steve Israel and Robert Wexler, in the process.
Lew would then take over for Tom Nides, who resigned as ambassador last month after serving for 20 months so he could spend more time with his family.
Lew has previously stated his support for Israel but has also voiced criticism of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s ties to Obama, claiming in 2017 that Netanyahu purposefully provoked the president in 2015 by speaking out against the Iran deal Obama was trying to put into place.
“I believe Israel made a serious error there. Lew stated in an interview with Jewish Insider that “A) it wasn’t going to work and B) it contributed to a trend of Israel identifying on a partisan basis when for the most of 70 years there was no doubt that both parties could be pro-Israel.A
Additionally, he argued in favor of the nuclear agreement, telling Jewish Insider that it made Israel safer.
Lew has emphasized his support for the US administration’s opposition to Judea and Samaria settlements and condemned former President Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.
. Since it “preserves the possibility of having a negotiated agreement that will produce peace,” he pointed out that prior presidents of both parties had declined to officially recognize Jerusalem.
At the time, Lew hoped that Trump’s choice wouldn’t result in a “major disruption,” before stating, “If you care, as I do, about having permanent security for a democratic state of Israel, there is no pathway other than a two-state solution.
“The more discussion of a one-state solution you hear, the less likely it is that state to be a democratic one. I don’t want my grandchildren to embrace that kind of Israel,” Lew remarked.
Lew is a devoutly observant Jew who observes Shabbos and is well-liked in orthodox circles, despite his left-wing views. Lew’s longtime friend, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, a Chabad missionary in Washington, says of Jack: “Jack is very humble, very talented, wise, and very gentle, and he can work with everyone.”
When he enters the synagogue, you wouldn’t even recognize him as a high official from the US government, according to Rabbi Shemtov.
He is quite modest and doesn’t want anyone to pay attention to him or talk about him. He has a really serene demeanor. He often receives Maftir and offers Musaf (as Chazan) in prayer.
Lew’s appointment as treasury secretary made Rabbi Shemtov exclaim, “It proves that one can reach the highest levels of administration and keep mitzvos.” What a remarkable phenomenon!