Oct 31, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Senate confirms Jack Lew as U.S. ambassador to Israel

Jack Lew, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be the U.S. ambassador to Israel, testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill October 18

Jack Lew testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Oct. 18. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's nomination to become the next U.S. ambassador to Israel.

Why it matters: Lew's confirmation fills a months-long vacancy and comes at a critical moment, as the U.S. prepares for the possibility of a wider regional conflict in the Middle East amid the Israel-Hamas war.

State of play: The Senate voted 53-43 to confirm Lew's nomination.

  • "With everything happening in Israel right now, confirming Jack Lew at this moment will be one of the most important and consequential nomination votes the Senate has taken in a long time," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) had said ahead of the vote Tuesday.
  • Lew has a "strong, long, proven record as a public servant," Schumer added.

Background: Lew had faced Republican opposition due to his past involvement in the Iran nuclear deal.

  • Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to advance Lew's nomination largely along party lines, with only one Republican — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul — joining all Democrats to approve Lew.

The big picture: The U.S. hasn't had a Senate-confirmed ambassador to Israel since July, when Tom Nides left the position.

Editor's note: This story is developing and will be updated.

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