Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed Daniel Shapiro, President Barack Obama’s new US ambassador with a diplomatic version of “Good luck. You’ll need it.”
“Congratulations and commiserations,” the Prime Minister said after a hug and friendly backslap. “You are going to do a great job.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu began the photo-op conversation with small talk, noting a pin of two flags of the United States and Israel on Shapiro’s suit.
Shapiro did not miss a beat and said he has a “stash of them pre-pinned to all of his suits."
Shapiro spoke in English, which Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks fluently. The day before, the new American Ambassador chose to show off his Hebrew in his official ceremony of presenting his credentials to President Shimon Peres.
The new ambassador was a close advisor to President Obama and shares his vision of a Palestinian Authority based on most of its territorial demands, which includes all of Judea and Samaria and large swaths of Jerusalem.
Following a U.S. State Department survey showing that the Obama administration is held in low esteem by Israelis, Shapiro is expected to keep a high profile in Israeli media, unlike his predecessor James Cunningham, who kept his distance from journalists.
Shapiro, who also speaks Arabic, learned in Hebrew University for one year before completing a degree in Jewish Studies in the liberal Brandeis University, a long-time haven for socialists and pro-Arab activists.