Photo Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom / GPO
US Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew and Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem on November 5, 2023

Israeli President Isaac Herzog formally received the diplomatic credentials of America’s incoming Ambassador to Israel, Jack Lew, in a ceremony held Sunday (Nov. 5) at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

Under the shadow of the ongoing war against Hamas, the ceremony was conducted without the traditional guard of honor and national anthems, after which the two men held a briefing for journalists.


“A crisis is always when you’re reminded who your friends are,” the president noted. “This is true of people, and it’s true of countries. I’m speaking for all Israelis when I say: never has American friendship been more evident or more valued than it is right now. We are grateful to President Joe Biden for his unwavering support of Israel and its people. We value the immense efforts and repeated visits by Secretary Blinken and high-level officials. We are grateful for everything that the USA has done for us and is doing as we speak. We will never forget it,” Herzog said, noting that the incoming ambassador is beginning his service “at a tipping point for Israel and the region, maybe for the world. On October 7, Simchat Torah, we were subject to a barbaric attack that changed this country forever.

“This war is about much more than Israel and Hamas. It’s about whether the world will accept the violation of our most basic values as human beings. We treasure the clarity we’ve heard from President Biden, who called the Hamas threat by its true name – evil. Evil is the accurate word for terrorists holding more than 240 people, including babies and the elderly, and including American citizens, without any news of their fate. This is an ongoing war crime, and anyone concerned with humanitarian aid must act to secure their immediate and unconditional release.”

Herzog added that Israeli is committed to humanitarian assistance “wherever possible, to the uninvolved civilian population of Gaza.” However, he added, “we know that the only way to stop the suffering of Israelis and Palestinians is to remove the threat of Hamas,” and said “these trying times” are a test for us all.

America’s incoming ambassador is no stranger to the Jewish State. He served as the US Treasury Secretary from 2013 to 2017, and during the first term of the Obama Administration, he served as the first deputy secretary of state for management and resources, from 2009 to 2010.

“This is a difficult time,” Lew acknowledged. “These are not normal times and this is not a normal transition (as incoming ambassador). In fact I am told it’s the shortest time from a [confirmation] vote in the Senate to arriving in country – reflecting the urgency in the moment.

“I was raised with a deep appreciation of the importance of Israel, and I worked over my career in government to deepen the US-Israel relationship to meet critical immediate security needs, and also to build enduring approaches that span many years.

“Over many visits, I have developed a deep respect for the people and history of this country. I have many friends here as I arrive, and I look forward to building new relationships even during these hard early days. This past month has tested Israel and it has also proven that the bond between our nations is unshakable. As two great democracies, we share values that underlie how we make decisions. That explains why we remain so close.”

Lew said that earlier in the day, he had met with families of the hostages abducted by Hamas terrorists and Gazan civilians during their barbaric invasion of southern Israel on October 7.

“Tthere are no words to explain the pain they feel and we share,” Lew said. “Working for the release of over 200 hostages, including Americans, will remain a top priority until their captivity comes to end.”

But the incoming ambassador made a point of politely warning the Jewish State that the Biden Administration is carefully watching exactly how Israel chooses to defend itself in the face of the existential threat it faces across its southern border.

“As President Biden has said so passionately, Israel has a right and indeed a responsibility to defend this nation and its people in a manner that reflects the values that we share (ed: italics added). We remain committed to providing the support to be successful in that effort.”

In a second warning, Lew added, “Even during a time of crisis, we must remain focused on the long term strategic challenges that will shape a future of greater stability and security, with better opportunities for all people of goodwill, regardless of religion,” a remark that appeared to echo code for the suicidal “two-state solution” the US and world leaders continue to try to shove down the throats of Israel’s leaders.

“There’s much to do, but we’ll do it together,” Lew pledged. And is in that unity of purpose that I find hope for a brighter future.

“What took place on October 7 is a stain on humanity. It cannot happen. And so I want to reiterate what President Biden and Secretary Blinken have said countless times since that very dark day: the United States stands with you. We will work together. Our resolve will remain strong. Thank you for this honor, and I look forward to working with the Government and people of Israel.”

Share this article on WhatsApp:

Previous articleMontreal Suburb Proves Solidarity with Israel
Next articleIDF Destroys Weapons Lab, Seizes Missiles, Drones and More in Gaza
Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.