Below is a good Politico story about the president's choice to be the next U.S. ambassador to Israel -- foreign policy aide Dan Shapiro. Talking to my own sources on this indicates Shapiro is a popular pick among those folks who are hoping to jumpstart the peace process. The idea is to send the message to the Israeli government that Shapiro has a direct line to the White House, and that he's not a State Department guy first -- but someone who can deal directly with the president.
From the Politico story:
The Obama administration plans to nominate a top White House Middle East advisor to be the next U.S. envoy to Israel, POLITICO has learned.
President Barack Obama intends to nominate one of his most trusted Middle East aides, the National Security Council’s Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa Dan Shapiro, to be his ambassador to Israel, administration officials said.
Shapiro has earned Obama's trust as a Middle East and Jewish outreach advisor going back to the campaign, and one who uniquely seems to get along well with everyone else. Shapiro has worked closely with all the key inter-agency players including National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, the NSC’s top Iran and regional strategist Dennis Ross, as well as Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell, and has a good rapport with Congress, where he previously served as a staffer. Shapiro also has good ties with the Jewish community, having served as a key White House point of contact for the Jewish community, and helped head up Jewish outreach for the Obama campaign.