Orthodox Jew Appointed New Ambassador to US

July 10, 2013

2 min read

Ron Dermer
Ron Dermer
Ron Dermer (Photo: Miriam Alster, Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed his top advisor Ron Dermer to be Israel’s next ambassador to the United States. Dermer, a yarmulke-wearing Orthodox Jew originally from Miami Beach, has been Netanyahu’s closest diplomatic advisor for the past four years. He will replace Michael Oren, who has served in Washington for four years. In an announcement on Tuesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said Dermer has “all the necessarily characteristics to successfully fill this important role.”

His selection has raised some concern in Washington because Dermer, a neo-conservative was seen as questioning President Barack Obama’s commitment to Israel during his first term and of supporting Mitt Romney in the 2012 elections. Dermer has often expressed skepticism about whether Palestinians truly want a state of their own and about their reliability as a peace partner. Further, in 2009, Dermer said he considered cultivating ties with the American Jewish community’s liberal wing a waste of time

Dermer earned a B.A. in Finance and Management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1993, and a Master’s degree from Oxford University in 1996. During his days at Oxford, Dermer was a vocal advocate for Israel. According to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Dermer was known for “demolishing opponents in the marketplace of ideas with an unparalleled command of the facts and electrifying presentation. He persuaded some of the world’s brightest students on the Arab-Israeli conflict, including Arab students from some of Middle East’s most prominent families, who were his close friends. His skills have only increased since.”

In 1996 Dermer moved to Israel, “I left America because I wanted to help another nation I love defend the freedoms that Americans have long taken for granted,’’ he once said in a 2005 New York Sun interview. “I left America to help another people I love fight not merely for their survival but also for their right to survive.’’

His mother, Yaffa Dermer who was born and raised in Israel before moving to the U.S., said that Ron was constantly involved with Israel while growing up in their Miami Beach home, adding that he “loves” the country. “I’m excited. I think he’ll do a wonderful job because he’s a red-blooded American,” she told the Miami Herald on Tuesday. “He told me he’s going to visit me a lot.”

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