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Former Rep. Steve Steve Israel says he won't take Israel ambassador job

Former Democratic Rep. Steve Israel has taken himself

Former Democratic Rep. Steve Israel has taken himself out of the running for the job of U.S. Ambassador to Israel. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Former Rep. Steve Israel has removed himself from the running to become President Joe Biden's Ambassador to Israel, saying "now is not the time to be considered."

Israel, 62, of Huntington, said he did not want to leave his family.

"Though it would have been an extraordinary privilege just to be asked, even more extraordinary is the time I spend with my 22 month old grandson, Jacob," Israel said in a statement. "I was away from my family for 16 years as a Congressman and just don’t want that separation at this point in my life. I value my relationship with the President and can support his agenda as a private citizen.

Israel represented the 2nd congressional district from 2001 to 2017. The district runs along the northern section of Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties. The seat is held by Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove).

Israel is director of The Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell University, which hosts programs and discussions with political leaders in New York City, upstate Ithaca, Washington and abroad.

News stories that Israel was under consideration for the ambassador's post, and that he had removed himself from consideration first were published in The Forward, a Jewish newspaper and website.

Candidates on the shortlist to become U.S. Ambassador to Israel include former Rep. Robert Wexler, a Democrat from Florida; developer Michael Adler, a close friend of Biden's; former State Department official Amos Hochstein; and former Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides, The Forward reported Thursday.

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