Biden taps Lew as Israel envoy


Another Orthodox Jew from New York is in line to serve as US ambassador to Israel.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday nominated Jacob (“Jack”) Lew, 67 (pictured), to fill the position occupied during the Trump administration by Five Towner David Friedman, an ardent Zionist who is also an observant Jew.

Lew was White House chief of staff under President Barack Obama, and he directed the Office of Management and Budget under both presidents Obama and Bill Clinton. He would replace Thomas Nides in Jerusalem.

“He’s a very thoughtful person, and has always been open and accessible,” said Nathan Diament, Washington director of the Orthodox Union.  “He has an encyclopedic know-ledge of policy issues, starting with budgetary policy issues.

William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said Lew “was always very attentive to the Jewish communal agenda.”

While most Jewish groups joined in praising Lew, others joined far-right Republicans in expressing displeasure.

Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, said in an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post that Lew’s appointment would be “deeply concerning” because of his involvement in what Klein calls “the Obama administration’s hostility to the Jewish state and the Jewish people.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen called Lew is “a true friend of Israel.”

“We look forward to working with him in the spirit of cooperation and an alliance based on shared values.”