Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had an important phone call to make on the night of May 3 to Georgetown professor Michael Oren -- to whom he offered the position of Israel's next ambassador to the United States.
Oren, who replaced outgoing ambassador Sallai Meridor, serves as the main liaison between the United States and Israeli governments.
'The students and faculty of the (Program for Jewish Civilization) and School of Foreign Service will miss (Michael Oren) dearly, but we congratulate him on yet another milestone in an already distinguished career.' -- Jacques Berlinerblau
Oren has served as a visiting professor in the Program for Jewish Civilization (PJC) in Georgetown's Walsh School of Foreign Service for the past academic year. In addition to his position at Georgetown, Oren is a senior fellow at the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem-based research facility, where he specializes in the diplomatic and military history of the Middle East.
"As we close out another great academic year at PJC, we are delighted to relay the news that professor Michael Oren has been selected to be Israel's next ambassador to the United States," said Jacques Berlinerblau, associate professor and PJC director. "The students and faculty of the PJC and School of Foreign Service will miss him dearly, but we congratulate him on yet another milestone in an already distinguished career."
Raised in New Jersey, Oren was an activist in pro-Israeli youth movements and a gold-medal-winning athlete in the quadrennial Jewish Olympic Games known as the Maccabia Games.
Oren immigrated to Israel in the 1970s. He has served as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), a paratrooper in the first Lebanon War, a liaison with the U.S. Sixth Fleet during the Gulf War and an army spokesman in the second Lebanon War. Oren was called up to duty during the recent Israel-Gaza conflict, where he served as a media relations officer for the IDF.
A graduate of Princeton and Columbia universities, Oren acted as a representative of the prime minister's office to Jewish refuseniks in the Soviet Union, and as an adviser to Israel's delegation to the United Nations. He has received fellowships from the U.S. departments of State and Defense, and has briefed the White House and testified before Congress on Middle Eastern affairs.
Oren has written extensively for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The New Republic. He is author of "Power, Faith and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present" (W.W. Norton, 2007), a New York Times bestseller, and "Six Days of War: June 1967 and The Making of the Modern Middle East" (Oxford University Press, 2002).