(Netanya, Israel) — I was very encouraged to hear the news yesterday that Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu has formally named Ron Dermer, 42, to be the new Israeli Ambassador to the United States. Ron will begin in the fall, when the current ambassador, Michael Oren, steps down after four years of doing an excellent job.
Most Americans have no idea who Ron is, but I can tell you he is a great choice and I believe he will play a critical role at a critical time in U.S.-Israeli relations. He is a senior foreign policy advisor to Netanyahu and without question the PM’s most trusted and loyal advisor and strategist. When the PM meets with President Obama, Ron is always at his side. In the most difficult of moments between Jerusalem and Washington in the last four years, Ron was always in the room. He has Netanyahu’s ear, he knows his mind, and he speaks directly for the Prime Minister. In that context, he will be the ideal Ambassador, and perhaps the most influential Israeli emissary to Washington in a generation.
Ron and I first met in 2000 when he was an advisor to Netanyahu and Natan Sharansky, and I was hired to work for both men, as well. We have remained friends ever since. We have not always agreed, and have had some spirited arguments over the years. But I have great respect for him and consider him one of the sharpest minds in Jerusalem. When he was serving as economic attaché at the Israeli Embassy in Washington a few years ago, he invited me and my son, Jacob, to the bris of one of his five children. Last week we had lunch with a mutual friend at the King David Hotel. I greeted him as “Mr. Ambassador.” He said it wasn’t official yet and didn’t want me to get ahead of myself. But I had no doubt he would get the post, and am glad he did.
Israel is facing the meltdown of Syria, a revolution in Egypt, and Iran growing ever close to having nuclear weapons. War may be coming to the epicenter. If it does, the U.S.-Israeli relationship will be more important than ever. Ron Dermer is the right man to send to Washington for such a time as this. Please pray for him, his wife (Rhoda), and their five kids. Pray they have the divine wisdom to navigate choppy waters. Pray, too, for Christians to support Ron, the PM, and people of Israel — both Jews and Arabs — while we pray for peace, but prepare for the possibility of war.
- Read an excellent profile on Ron from a few years ago in Tablet Magazine: “Bibi’s Brain — Ron Dermer, a Florida-born Jew who started in politics working on the 1994 Republican Revolution, is Benjamin Netanyahu’s most influential aide.”