The U.S. president appointed Thomas Nides on Tuesday as the new diplomatic representative in the Middle Eastern country.
The president of the United States, Joe Biden, appointed Thomas Nides as the new ambassador to Israel on Tuesday, two days after the departure of Benjamin Netanyahu and the formation of a new government.
Nides, a former managing director and vice president of investment bank Morgan Stanley who has spent his adult life in Democratic politics, served in the United States Department of State during the Barack Obama administration (2009-2017) and championed funding for the Palestinians.
If ratified by the Senate, Nides would mark a sharp departure from the last U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, a vigorous advocate of aggressive Israeli policies who former President Donald Trump chose after serving his company as an attorney for bankruptcies.
Nides grew up in a Jewish home in Duluth, Minnesota, where his father was temple president. He is not known as an ideological figure on the Middle East or other issues.
While serving as undersecretary of state for administration and resources, Nides fought attempts by Republicans in Congress to stop U.S. funding for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, a step taken by Trump but reversed by Biden.
Michael Oren, Israel's former ambassador to Washington, wrote in a 2011 book that Nides once called him to argue passionately - and profanely - against attempts in Congress to defund the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO after which admitted Palestine as a member state.
Nides, Oren wrote, said in colorful language that Israel would not want to withdraw funding from UNESCO. It has played a role in education about the Holocaust.
Nides, whose appointment had been rumored for weeks, must be confirmed in office by the Senate, where Democrats have tight control.
His appointment was announced two days after the fall from power of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister.
Biden congratulated incoming Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday after an alliance of parties removed Netanyahu and formed a new government.
"I look forward to working with Prime Minister Bennett to strengthen all aspects of the close and enduring relationship between our two nations. Israel has no better friend than the United States," Biden said in a statement.
He added that he was "fully committed to working with the new Israeli government to promote security, stability, and peace for Israelis, Palestinians, and the peoples of the entire region ."
Bennett, a right-wing Jewish nationalist, will lead a bloc of eight ideologically divergent parties united by their shared opposition to Netanyahu.
In a speech to the Knesset before the vote, Bennett said that the new government "represents all of Israel."