WASHINGTON — Former Huntington congressman Steve Israel is under consideration by the incoming Biden administration to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, according to recent Jewish media reports.
Israel, a Democrat, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2001 to 2017, is on the short list of contenders, according to reports in Haaretz and Jewish Insider, two U.S.-based Jewish news outlets. Both cited sources close to the Biden transition team.
Asked about the reports, Israel told Newsday: "I deeply value my relationship with the president- elect, and of course would serve him in any appropriate way, but nothing has been offered, and I am incredibly happy with the life I have here on Long Island."
President-Elect Joe Biden’s transition news media team did not return an email seeking comment. Sources close to the transition said Israel has been vetted for an ambassadorship.
Israel, who spent four years as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, served as an adviser to the Biden campaign. He currently serves as director of Cornell University’s Institute of Politics and Global Affairs.
Asked if he was interested in accepting any role in the incoming administration, Israel said "it would be difficult" to reverse his decision in 2016 to "not return to Washington, D.C."
"Supporting and serving the Biden administration can be done in any number of ways and in any number of places, including on Long Island," Israel said.
Other candidates reportedly being vetted for the Israel post include former Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), who currently leads the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace in Washington, and Miami-based developer Michael Adler, a major donor to Biden’s campaign.
The post is currently held by David M. Friedman, a Trump appointee raised on Long Island. Friedman, a longtime New York City-based bankruptcy attorney, advised Trump’s 2016 campaign on Israeli issues before being tapped for the post.
Friedman, the son of a rabbi, grew up in North Woodmere and graduated from the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County in 1974.