On Friday Dan Shapiro was sworn in by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to serve as the new U.S. Ambassador to Israel. Shapiro was confirmed by the Senate on May 26, 2011, and officially accepted the title and responsibilities by taking the oath of office on Friday.
The event was attended by Shapiro’s wife and daughters and officials, colleagues, friends and foreign dignitaries. National Jewish Democratic Council Chairman Marc R. Stanley and President and CEO David A. Harris were present for the occasion; numerous diplomats and foreign officials were also present, including Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, and foreign ambassadors from Turkey and Morocco.
Clinton spoke highly of Shapiro, mentioning his extraordinary qualifications for the position and the respect that he has earned from President Barack Obama:
By sending one of his closest advisors to be our new ambassador, President Obama is once again demonstrating not only our national commitment, but his personal commitment to the strength of this relationship to Israel’s future, its security, and its success.
Clinton took the chance to restate the incredible bilateral relations between the US and Israel, and the Obama Administration’s unyielding dedication to protecting Israel:
[F]rom his first days in office, President Obama has upheld and strengthened that commitment. Under President Obama’s leadership, with Dan by his side, we continue to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge, we have increased security assistance, joint exercises and high-level consultations, and we have supplied new missile defense systems that are saving Israeli lives.
Upon being sworn in, Shapiro acknowledged his responsibility to maintain and strengthen the strategic US/Israel relationship:
For me, it is more than a job, more than a cause. It is a calling and a passion. And it is a passion that I share with President Obama and with you, Madam Secretary, because it serves our nation’s interests and upholds our nation’s values.
It entails working to safeguard Israel’s security, in the midst of a dangerous region with enemies sworn to its destruction, at a time of great change in the Middle East that carries with it both risk and opportunity. The President has instructed me to make Israel’s security my top priority, as he has done for the past two and a half years.
This we are doing by raising the remarkable cooperation and coordination between our militaries and our intelligence services to their highest levels ever….
It entails working to safeguard Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic state at peace with its neighbors, a secure homeland for the Jewish people.
This we are doing, by working together to find a way forward toward a two-state solution and peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and by opposing all efforts to isolate and delegitimize Israel internationally.
And it entails working at all levels of our societies to expand the remarkable depth and breadth of the bonds between our peoples, including our burgeoning economic relationship.
Click here to read Shapiro’s remarks.
Harris originally said following Shapiro’s May confirmation:
The leadership, staff and supporters of the National Jewish Democratic Council are thrilled that Dan Shapiro has been swiftly confirmed as the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel. His expertise and knowledge of Israel and the Middle East-along with his previous service as President Barack Obama’s deeply trusted advisor on the Middle East- make him the perfect person to ascend to this crucial position and represent the United States’ interests in Israel. Obama’s decision to appoint Ambassador Shapiro is a reflection of how seriously the President views our relationship with Israel and how committed he is to further strengthening it. Supporters of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship should be delighted that the newest Ambassador to Israel will have the ear of the President as we enter into a period where a strong U.S.-Israel relationship is needed more than ever before.
Click here to read the full statement.
The entire NJDC family wishes Ambassador Shapiro and his family the very best of luck as they represent our country and begin this new chapter of their lives.
Click below to watch a video of the swearing in ceremony:
Below are pictures taken of the event:
Ambassador Dan Shapiro Being Sworn In. Photo courtesy of NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris.
Ambassador Dan Shapiro Signing the Forms. Photo courtesy of NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris.
Ambassador Dan Shapiro’s Speech. Photo courtesy of NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris.
Ambassador Dan Shapiro with NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris and his wife Megan Draheim. Photo Courtesy of Avi Goldscheider.
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