President Clinton this week tapped economic adviser Robert Rubin to replace Lloyd Bentsen as secretary of the treasury, making Rubin the second Jewish member in Clinton’s Cabinet.
Although Rubin has not been a key leader in Washington on Jewish issues, observers welcomed his appointment and said Rubin has always maintained good ties with the community.
“He has always been involved in the Jewish community and always been sensitive to the Jewish community’s issues,” said Monte Friedkin, national chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Committee.
Jewish leaders praised Rubin’s work as the head of the National Economic Council, a position which gave him “a direct path to the Oval Office,” Friedkin said.
“He clearly is an extraordinarily capable administrator and policy-maker,” said David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
Rubin, who advises Clinton on economic matters, is known for his pro-Israel stance and as a strong proponent of free trade and restrained government spending.
Bentsen, described by many as a longtime friend of the Jewish community, was serving his fourth senate term when he was named treasury secretary. He will step down early next year.