Ambassador Daniel Shapiro (RIS)
United States Ambassador to Israel
Daniel B. Shapiro is a diplomat and the 19th and current Ambassador of the United States of America to the State of Israel. He was nominated by President Obama on March 29, 2011, and confirmed by the Senate on May 29. He was sworn in as ambassador by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on July 8, 2011. Previously, he was the senior director for the Middle East and North Africa on the United States National Security Council.
He began his undergraduate studies at Washington University, spending his sophomore year in Israel, and then transferred to Brandeis University, where he obtained a bachelor's degree in 1991 in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. Two years later he earned a Master's degree in Middle Eastern Politics from Harvard University. Shapiro speaks both Hebrew and Arabic.
From 1993 to 1995 Shapiro served as a professional staff member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee under Chairman Lee H. Hamilton. From 1995 to 1999 he was a legislative assistant and senior foreign policy adviser to Senator Dianne Feinstein. From 1999 to 2001 he sat on the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton, as director of legislative affairs and as a Congressional liaison for National Security Adviser Sandy Berger. From 2001 to 2007 he was first legislative adviser and then deputy chief of staff (primarily on foreign policy issues) for U.S. Senator Bill Nelson. From 2007 till 2008 he was vice president of the Washington, D.C. lobbying firm Timmons & Company.
Shapiro has served as an advisor to Barack Obama on Middle East and Jewish community issues since 2007, also assisting as strategist and fundraiser. He accompanied Obama on his July 2008 trip to Israel; in August 2008, Obama appointed him senior policy adviser and Jewish Outreach coordinator for his 2008 presidential campaign.
In January 2009, Shapiro was appointed senior director for the Middle East and North Africa of the U.S. National Security Council. Focusing on Israel, he attended every Israel related meeting, and met with every senior Israeli diplomat and military officer who visited Washington. Shapiro often accompanied U.S. special envoy for Middle East Peace George J. Mitchell on his trips to the region, and played a central role in talks regarding the Middle East Peace Process and the strengthening of military cooperation between the U.S. and Israel. He has maintained close relations with Benyamin Netanyahu, in spite of tensions between the Israeli prime minister and President Obama.