NEW YORK (JTA) — The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations offered high personal and professional praise for her outgoing Israeli counterpart.
Susan Rice, a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, made her remarks at a farewell party for Gabriela Shalev and three other Israeli diplomats finishing up their stints in the United States: Asaf Shariv, Israel’s consul general in New York; Shariv’s deputy, Benjamin Krasna; and Shalev’s deputy, Daniel Carmon.
“She’s truly one of my favorite people,” Rice said of Shalev at an early evening gathering Wednesday at the New York kosher steakhouse Prime Grill.
Rice named some of Shalev’s prominent predecessors — Abba Eban, Chaim Herzog and Benjamin Netanyahu — and predicted that historians would remember Shalev as being among Israel’s best representatives at the United Nations.
Shalev returned the warm feelings and praised Rice’s efforts to help Israel at the United Nations and push through new sanctions targeting Iran.
Several Jewish communal leaders and diplomats from other countries praised Shalev, as well as Shariv, Krasna and Carmon, saying they were stellar in representing their country during a very volatile period.
Israel’s outgoing New York-based diplomatic teams have served through the war in Gaza with Hamas, as well as the Goldstone report and the recent flotilla incident, all of which were seized on by pro-Palestinian forces to attempt to delegitimize Israel at the United Nations and in other forums.
Wednesday’s event was sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The crowd included diplomatic representatives of the United Nations, Russia, Ukraine, India, Kazakhstan, Jordan, Australia, Britain and Germany, as well as several prominent New York politicians.