New Ambassador would Raze Yesha

Dr. Michael Oren, the new Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., favors a withdrawal from most of Judea and Samaria, expects Obama to pressure Israel.

Gil Ronen,

Michael Oren
Michael Oren
Israel News photo: (file)

The Netanyahu government's choice for U.S. Ambassador is Dr. Michael Oren, who favors Israel withdrawing unilaterally from most of Judea and Samaria and razing most settlements. Speaking to the conservative JINSA institute earlier this year, Oren said he expected the Obama administration to use pressure on Israel to get Jerusalem to agree to establishing a Palestinian state. If Israel does not go along it will "be pushed into a corner," he said.

Oren, 54, will be Israel's next ambassador to the United States, replacing current ambassador Salai Meridor, who announced his resignation several weeks ago, the Foreign Ministry announced over the weekend. Oren will arrive in Washington within the next few weeks, at around the time Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visits the U.S.

Oren has said on several occasions that the only way for Israel to survive as a Jewish state is to remove most of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria that are located outside the security fence. Speaking at Georgetown University last month, Oren was quoted as saying that "The only alternative for Israel to save itself as a Jewish state is by unilaterally withdrawing from the West Bank and evacuating most of the settlements."

Born in the U.S., made Aliyah
Oren was born in the U.S. and raised in a Conservative Jewish family in New Jersey. He immigrated to Israel and is currently a fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem and a contributing editor to the The New Republic. Oren was recently appointed Visiting Professor at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University for the 2008-2009 academic year. He is the author of the best-selling Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East.

Oren served as a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces, seeing combat in the 1982 Lebanon War. He served as IDF liaison officer to the U.S. Sixth Fleet during the Gulf War and as an army spokesman and media relations officer in the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead.

In one of the first reactions to the announcement that Dr. Michael Oren will be Israel's ambassador to the United States, MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) criticized the move, saying that Oren's appointment "unveils the true aims of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who spoke against concessions to the Arabs before the elections, and is now preparing the groundwork for Israeli surrender and the establishment of a Palestinian state."