US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides on Friday bid farewell to Israel and posted a final Shabbat Shalom video to his Twitter account, as he prepares to leave his post next week.
“My final Shabbat Shalom!!! I want to thank everyone who has been on this journey with me. I loved my time here in Israel. Being the US Ambassador to Israel has been a dream come true. I want to wish all of you, a very heartfelt, Shabbat Shalom,” he wrote.
Earlier, the US Embassy in Jerusalem announced that Nides will travel to Washington, D.C. to take part in the official visit of President Isaac Herzog to the United States next week.
Nides will accompany President Herzog in his meetings with senior US government officials, including President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
On July 21, upon conclusion of President Herzog’s trip, Ambassador Nides will transfer his authority as US Ambassador to Israel to current Deputy Chief of Mission Stephanie L. Hallett, who will become Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Jerusalem until a new ambassador is named.
Earlier this week, Nides arrived for a personal and national prayer at the Western Wall ahead of his return to the US.
During his tenure as the US Ambassador to Israel, Nides visited the Western Wall on dozens of occasions and participated in many events.
The conclusion of his term comes amid tensions between the US and Israel. On Monday, Nides was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, and told the paper that the Biden administration is trying to stop Israel from “going off the rails” with the overhaul of its judicial system.
Nides said the planned overhaul raised questions about Israel’s democratic credentials and the US-Israeli bond, which he called “as close as family”.
“I think most Israelis want the United States to be in their business,” he said. “With that sometimes comes a modicum of a price, which is articulating when we think things are going off the rails.”
“One of the messages I sent to the prime minister was to tap the brakes, slow down,” Nides added. “Try to get consensus.”
US officials have repeatedly opined that any changes to the judicial reform in Israel should be implemented with the agreement of both the government and the opposition.
Nides himself several months ago called on Israeli leaders to “pump the brakes” on the judicial reform.
This resulted in a back-and-forth with Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli, who responded to Nides in a radio interview and said, “I say to the American ambassador, put on the brakes yourself and mind your own business. You aren’t sovereign here, to get involved in the matter of judicial reform. We will be happy to discuss foreign and security matters with you. But respect our democracy.”
Nides later took a swipe at Chikli, describing him as “an Israeli official that I don’t know”.
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)