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Oren tapped as envoy

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel’s new government  has selected Michael Oren as its ambassador to Washington.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Oren Sunday night to inform him that he had been selected, according to a statement released Monday from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Oren, a dual U.S.-Israel citizen who currently is a visiting professor at Georgetown University in Washington, has earned plaudits for his extensive scholarship on the 1967 Six-Day War. More recently he published a popular history that traced American Zionism to the founders as a rebuke to “realists” who advocate tempering close U.S.-Israel ties.

In an analysis last year, Oren wrote that an Obama administration was likelier to clash with Israel on certain policies than one led by John McCain, then the Republican candidate. Some critics of Israel in recent weeks have depicted the analysis as an attack on Obama, but Oren’s defenders say it was a dispassionate and scholarly assessment of how each candidate’s stated policies would play out.

More recently, Oren has advocated withdrawing from much of the West Bank, a position that Netanyahu has rejected.

Unlike other postings, made at the discretion of the foreign minister, the Washington envoy is usually chosen by the prime minister because of the sensitivity of the post. Oren will replace Sallai Meridor, who was known to be close to Netanyahu’s predecessor, Ehud Olmert.

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