Bush nominates Richard Jones as next ambassador to Israel
Jones is considered an expert on the Middle East, though he has never been involved in ties with Israel.
U.S. President George W. Bush chose Richard Jones as his nominee to replace Dan Kurtzer as the next ambassador to Israel, Army Radio said before dawn on Tuesday.
The appointment must be approved by the Senate before it can be finalized.
Earlier in the month, Haaretz reported the diplomat was expected to become the next ambassador. Jones is considered an expert on the Middle East, though he has never before been involved in relations with Israel. He has served as U.S. ambassador to Lebanon (1996-98), Kazakhstan and Kuwait, run the State Department's Egyptian desk and served as a political counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh.
In late 2003, while serving as ambassador to Kuwait, he was also made a member of Iraq's provisional government, and in February this year, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made him her advisor on Iraq.
Another candidate who had been mentioned for the job was Melvin Sembler, one of the leaders of the Republican Jewish Coalition and a supporter of President George Bush, who is currently America's ambassador to Rome. The choice of Jones indicates that Bush wants a professional rather than a political appointment in Tel Aviv.
Jones, 54, has a doctorate in business administration and statistics. One of his hobbies is unicycle riding. He is married with three children.