Israel’s ambassador to Washingon, Michael Oren, stated on Friday evening that he expects to complete his term of service this coming fall. Oren did not specify an exact date in his statement, but a high-ranking official in Jerusalem has said that Oren will return to Israel in late September.
"After over four years I will complete my duties this coming fall,” Oren said in a statement. “I am grateful for the opportunity I have been given to represent Israel and its government…Israel and the United States have always, and will always enjoy a special relationship, and I have had the privilege of playing a central role in shaping these bonds, and making them stronger. I hope to continue to serve Israel in the future.”
Oren was appointed ambassador to the U.S. in 2009. His term was extended by three months after the last Israeli election, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had yet to decide who would replace him. Oren, however, told Netanyahu that he wished to return to Israel and did not want his term extended.
The leading candidate to replace Oren as Israel’s ambassador to Washington is his associate Ron Dermer, who has served as Netanyahu’s political consultant over the past four years. Netanyahu has yet to make an official statement naming Dermer Oren’s successor, as he has not made a final decision on the matter.
Dermer is a strong candidate as he enjoys a great deal of trust with the Prime Minster. On the other hand, he is not highly regarded in the White House. The Obama administration views Dermer as a strong supporter of the Republican Party, and one of the central figures responsible for the strong alliance between Netanyahu and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who lost the election in November 2012.