Thomas Nides and his wife join Herzog for Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony
Thomas Nides and his wife join Herzog for Hanukkah candle lighting ceremonyOlivier Fitoussi/Flash90

America’s new ambassador to Israel vowed the Biden administration will ensure Iran does not achieve nuclear weapons capabilities, and reiterated the administration’s support for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

Speaking at his first address in Israel as ambassador Sunday at an event hosted by Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Thomas Nides vowed that the US would continue to back the Iron Dome system, despite pressure by some within the Democratic party to cut defense aid to Israel.

“My agenda as Ambassador will be first and foremost to reinforce our unshakeable and enduring commitment to Israel’s defense,” Nides said at a ceremony in Jerusalem marking his reception as ambassador.

“And I want to take a moment to reiterate, as President Biden has said, that the United States fully supports the replenishment of Iron Dome.”

“We will continue to collaborate closely to advance peace and stability, and to counter the threat Iran poses to Israel and the region. As President Biden has made it very, very, clear, the United States is committed to ensuring that Iran never develops a nuclear weapon.”

“As Ambassador, I intend to work tirelessly to further strengthen Israel’s long-standing peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, as well as to build on the great work of the Abraham Accords. President Biden and Secretary Blinken have been unequivocal in their support for these groundbreaking agreements.”

“But we do not view normalization as a substitute for Israel-Palestinian peace. Instead, we seek to harness existing and future agreements to improve the lives of Palestinians with a view to preserving the vision of a negotiated two-state solution.”

Nides also addressed talks aimed at bringing Israel into the US visa waiver program, and denounced the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

“Ultimately, the viability of any relationship is measured by the people-to-people connections.  On this front, I am committed to furthering the depth and breadth of the bonds between our people.  In particular, business-to-business relations, which are already strong thanks to our shared values of free market economy principles and fair competition. I will also continue this Administration’s work with Israeli counterparts in hopes of Israel joining the Visa Waiver Program.”

“I will also stand up against all efforts to isolate and delegitimize Israel internationally.  I will continue the work of this Administration to firmly reject the BDS movement and boycott laws which unfairly single out Israel.”