Dan Shapiro: A Diplomat's Journey

Dan Shapiro's journey from his early days in Illinois to his diplomatic service as the U.S. Ambassador to Israel reflects a remarkable career dedicated to strengthening the ties between the United States and Israel. His expertise, language skills, and deep commitment to the region have made him a prominent figure in American foreign policy, leaving a lasting impact on U.S.-Israel relations.

Daniel B. "Dan" Shapiro, born on August 1, 1969, is an American-Israeli diplomat who served as the United States Ambassador to Israel from 2011 to 2017. Prior to this role, he was a member of the National Security Council of the United States, where he specialized in Middle Eastern affairs. This article delves into the life and career of Dan Shapiro, tracing his journey from his early years to his significant diplomatic role in U.S.-Israel relations.

Early Life:
Dan Shapiro was born in Champaign, Illinois, to a Jewish family of four children. His mother, Elizabeth Klein Shapiro, is a renowned author, while his father, Michael Shapiro, is an Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Illinois. In 1973, the Shapiro family relocated to Israel during the Yom Kippur War, initially settling in Jerusalem's Kiryat Moshe neighborhood.

Education and Academic Pursuits:
In 1986, after completing his high school education at the University Laboratory High School in Urbana, Illinois, Dan returned to Israel, residing with an Israeli family in Jerusalem. During this period, he also spent time in a kibbutz. Later, he embarked on his academic journey, initially attending the University of Washington in St. Louis before studying as a visiting student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He then completed his undergraduate studies with honors at Brandeis University.

Early Career in U.S. Government:
Between 1993 and 1995, Shapiro served as a staff member of the Subcommittee on European and Middle Eastern Affairs in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he later became the head of the Middle East and North Africa division. He then worked as a legislative assistant for Senator Dianne Feinstein from 1995 to 1999 and played a crucial role as a senior advisor on foreign policy matters.

National Security Council and Capitol Hill:
From 1999 to 2001, during President Bill Clinton's tenure, Dan Shapiro was appointed as Director for Legislative Affairs and Congressional Liaison for the National Security Council, serving under National Security Advisor Sandy Berger. Between 2001 and 2007, he worked as an advisor to Senator Bill Nelson and subsequently as Deputy Chief of Staff, primarily focusing on foreign policy issues.

Advisor to President Barack Obama:
Shapiro's influence in foreign policy continued to grow, as he became a senior advisor to the Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, and later played a pivotal role in fundraising for Obama's campaign. In 2007, he was appointed President of the Washington lobbying firm "Timmons and Company." Shapiro accompanied Obama on his visits to Israel in July 2007 and March 2013. From 2009 to 2011, he held the position of Director for Middle East and North Africa Affairs at the National Security Council during President Obama's administration.

Expertise and Language Skills:
In addition to his English proficiency, Dan Shapiro is fluent in Hebrew and has some knowledge of Arabic. His academic background includes a Master's degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, which he obtained in 1993.

Personal Life:
Dan Shapiro is married to Julie Fisher, and they have three daughters: Liad, Shira, and Merav.

Diplomatic Service in Israel:
On March 10, 2011, President Barack Obama nominated Dan Shapiro to serve as the United States Ambassador to Israel. He was officially sworn in on July 7 of the same year by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and presented his credentials to Israeli President Shimon Peres on August 3, 2011. Shapiro concluded his ambassadorial tenure in Israel in January 2017, coinciding with the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

Escape During Operation Protective Edge:
During Operation Protective Edge in Israel, Dan Shapiro and his family briefly evacuated the country for a period of two months. Notably, he was the only ambassador who left Israel during the conflict, which led to significant criticism from the Israeli government, the Prime Minister's Office, and the President of Israel.

Post-Diplomatic Life:
Following his term as ambassador, Dan Shapiro remained in Israel, where he joined the Institute for National Security Studies. He currently resides in Ra'anana, Israel, continuing to contribute to discussions on U.S.-Israel relations and Middle Eastern affairs.

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