Obama expected to appoint Dan Shapiro Ambassador to Israel

Shapiro, 40, has advised Obama on the Middle East since before he assumed the presidency, and coordinated his presidential election campaign to attract Jewish voters.

Published 21:44 22.02.11

By Barak Ravid Tags: Israel news

Dan Shapiro
Photo by: Natasha Mozgovaya

U.S. President Barack Obama intends to appoint his adviser Dan Shapiro to the position of U.S. Ambassador to Israel, according to the website Politico. Shapiro, considered to be the White House point person for Israel, has served as the main go-between for the U.S. government and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

A White House source told Haaretz on Monday, "I cannot confirm the report, but neither can I disclaim it."

Shapiro, 40, has served Obama in the capacity of adviser on Middle East affairs even before he assumed the presidency, during his campaign for the office. Shapiro also organized his election campaign in the American Jewish community. Shapiro speaks Hebrew, regularly attends synagogue, and has given his children Israeli names.

After Obama entered the White House, he appointed Shapiro to head the Middle East Desk of the National Security Council, where he focused on relations with Israel. Shapiro attended every meeting that related to Israel or to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and every senior Israeli diplomat and military officer that visited Washington met with him.

Up until the collapse of the peace process in September 2010, Shapiro visited Israel at least once a month, sometimes twice a month. He accompanied U.S. envoy Mitchell on all of his trips to the region, and took a central role in talks with Israel regarding the settlement building freeze and the strengthening of military cooperation between the two countries.

Despite the significant tensions between U.S. President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, Shapiro maintained close relations with the Israeli prime minister and his close advisers and senior defense ministry officials. He also carried out talks with various Israeli political officials, including members of the opposition.

The current American Ambassador to Israel James Cunningham is expected to end his three-year term in the summer, and Shapiro is expected to replace him at that time.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/obama-expected-to-appoint-dan-shapiro-ambassador-to-israel-1.345076

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