The Biden administration is seriously considering appointing former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro as a Middle East envoy, the Washington Post reported Friday.
The role is likely to involve the diplomatic relations that were a hallmark of the Abraham Accords, Israel’s normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco that were formalized under the Trump administration, the report said.
Several people familiar with the discussions told the Washington Post that Shapiro has accepted an offer to join the Biden administration in a Mideast role, although some sources apparently named different positions that the former diplomat was under consideration for.
All the sources spoke anonymously as they were not permitted to speak openly on the matter, and all said Shapiro’s appointment was not final.
The White House declined to comment on a personnel issue to the newspaper.
Shapiro was ambassador to Israel from July 2011 until the start of the Trump administration over four years ago.
A Hebrew speaker, he remained in Israel after his term ended so his daughters could finish school, and now works for the Institute for National Security Studies think tank in Tel Aviv, where he is a distinguished visiting fellow.
While Shapiro’s name was initially mentioned as a possible next US ambassador to Israel, former State Department official Thomas Nides has accepted an offer from the Biden administration for the position, a source familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel on Monday.
The appointment will be announced by the White House in the coming weeks and will then need to be approved by the Senate, but no major opposition is expected, particularly given that Republicans do not have a majority in Congress, the source said, confirming Vox’s reporting on the matter.
Nides served as deputy secretary of state for management and resources in the Obama administration along with several other roles in the State Department before becoming a managing director at Morgan Stanley.
As deputy secretary of state for management and resources, Nides built effective working relationships with several Israeli officials and played a key role in the Obama administration’s approval of an extension on loan guarantees for Israel worth billions of dollars.
He also helped carry out Obama’s policy against Congressional efforts to limit US support for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNWRA) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
According to the Washington Post, Nides and Shapiro would work closely together.
Jacob Magid contributed to this report.