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American Ambassador to Israel is Staying On as an Expat

Outgoing U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro is leaving his diplomatic mansion in Herzliya but he’s not going home – instead, he and his family have rented a house in nearby Raanana to finish the school year.

In an exit interview with Haaretz, Shapiro said he has received no calls from his possible successor David Friedman. And he mused about the chance that his term will be the last time the American envoy works out of a Tel Aviv embassy.

Dan Shapiro moved to Israel in 2011. He is not the first Jewish-American to represent Washington in Israel, but he stood out for his fluent Hebrew and was a frequent guest on Israeli radio and TV. He frequently appeared in small Israeli communities and was known for hosting thousands of guests in the official residence. He also bridged the often hostile gap between his boss and Israel over the Iran nuclear deal and Israeli settlement construction.

His wife, Julie Fisher, told Haaretz, that Israelis mistook President Barack Obama for “a cold fish” because they didn’t understand his “Zen-like calm.”

“At the very end of his 2013 visit, the girls and I went to say goodbye and he picked up the girls and hugged them and it was on national TV,” she told the Israeli daily. “For weeks and months afterwards people asked me about that hug and how Obama looked so warm and nice. They were utterly surprised.”

For more of the interview, and for pictures of Shapiro packing and playing ping-pong, visit Haaretz.

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