Thomas Nides
A former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. described Thomas Nides, seen in an undated photo, as “irreverent, hard-working, highly intelligent, and warm.” (Wikimedia Commons via JTA)

Nides, a banker, had good relations with Israeli diplomats while a deputy secretary of state from 2011 to 2013 but was not heavily involved in substantive diplomacy.

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Joe Biden nominated Tom Nides, a deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration, to be his ambassador to Israel.

Nides, a banker, was the deputy secretary of state for management and resources from 2011 to 2013 and had good relations with Israeli diplomats, although he was less involved in substantive diplomacy.

Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to Washington, in his book “Ally” chronicling his ambassadorship, described Nides as “irreverent, hard-working, highly intelligent, and warm.” Oren said Nides quickly earned his “affection and trust.”

Nides, who is Jewish, is a Minnesota native who has been close to Joe Lieberman since running his vice presidential campaign in 2000. Lieberman, then a Connecticut senator, was Al Gore’s running mate and the first Jewish candidate on a major party presidential ticket.

Some in the centrist and liberal pro-Israel communities had pushed to have Biden tap Robert Wexler, a former Florida congressman who now heads a nongovernmental group advocating for Israeli-Arab peace, to the post.

By Ron Kampeas