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Ross, Shapiro slated for Obama administration

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — Dennis Ross and Dan Shapiro are slated for jobs in the Barack Obama administration.

An official close to the transition team told JTA on Thursday that Shapiro, a former senior U.S. Senate staffer and the Obama official who handled outreach to the Jewish community, and Ross, President Clinton’s top Middle East envoy, are "likely to have jobs with the administration."

The official commented after JTA called to confirm reports that Ross was slated to be the chief Middle East adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama’s secretary of state-designate, and that Shapiro would head the Middle East desk at the National Security Council. The official could not confirm those reports.

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where Ross is currently a senior fellow, on Wednesday sent to the Washington Post a premature news release congratulating him on his appointment advising the secretary of state, and indicating that Ross’ new appointment would outrank his previous government role. In his new capacity, Ross would supervise Obama’s Middle East envoy.

The Washington Institute on Thursday refused comment on the release.

Both appointments would be welcomed in the pro-Israel community. Ross has suggested coupling Obama’s pledge for outreach to Iran with tough sanctions. Shapiro was a lead in drafting the 2003 Syria Accountability Act, which imposed sanctions on Syria in part for its sponsorship of anti-Israel terrorist groups.

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