Ron Dermer (Hebrew: רון דרמר, born 1971) is an American-born Israeli political consultant. He served as Israel's economic envoy to the United States from 2005 to 2008, a position requiring him to give up his American citizenship, and subsequently served as senior advisor to current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for four years. On July 9, 2013 Dermer was confirmed as Israel's ambassador in Washington, replacing Michael Oren.
Ron Dermer was born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida, as the younger son of Yaffa Rosenthal, who was born in Mandatory Palestine and moved to Florida with her parents shortly after Israel won its independence, and Jay Dermer, a trial lawyer from New York City, who became mayor of Miami Beach in the late 1960s. Dermer went to a Jewish day school. In 1984, two weeks before his bar mitzvah, his father died of a heart attack. His brother David Dermer, a Democrat like his father, also served as mayor of Miami Beach, and helped reelect Republican President George W. Bush in Florida. Ron Dermer took a job under Frank Luntz in 1994 to help design the Contract with America.
Dermer earned a B.S. in Finance and Management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1993, and a Master's degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) from Oxford University in 1996. In 1995, while still at Oxford, he helped manage Natan Sharansky's Yisrael b'Aliyah 1996 Knesset election campaign. In 1996 Dermer moved to Israel, and in 1997, he began the process of becoming an Israeli citizen. On August 9, 1998, he married artist Adi Blumberg, the daughter of then chairman of the Bank of Jerusalem who had grown up in the Old City of Jerusalem. The wedding was presided over by Adin Steinsaltz. Adi Blumberg died in February 2000.
Dermer worked as a political consultant for Natan Sharansky in the 1999 campaign, and from January 2001 for nearly three years he wrote a column "The Numbers Game" for The Jerusalem Post. In 2004, he and Sharansky co-wrote the best-selling book The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror, famously endorsed by then US-President George W. Bush. In 2005, while Benjamin Netanyahu served as Finance Minister under Ariel Sharon, Dermer was appointed economic envoy at the Israeli embassy in Washington, a post for which he had to give up his American citizenship. In 2008, after his return to Israel, he became adviser to Netanyahu, who became Israel's prime minister in April 2009. Dermer is considered Netanyahu's closest adviser and strategic consultant. According to The Jerusalem Post, he "runs much of the interference with the White House, and is intimately involved in the diplomatic process with the Palestinians, [... and] writes many of Netanyahu’s speeches".
Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon reported on December 28, 2012 that Dermer's name was being floated as a potential replacement for Michael Oren, Israel's Ambassador to the United States. The Prime Minister's Office declined to comment on the report and the Embassy of Israel in Washington spokesman called the report "baseless." In March 2013, Dermer left the Prime Minister's Office after four years as Netanyahu's senior adviser. On July 9, 2013 the Prime Minister's office announced that Dermer would replace Oren as Israel's ambassador to the United States. According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, Oren, who wanted to keep his job, was removed because Dermer wanted the envoy post.
Regional observers and Washington political analyst see Dermer's appointment as a "mixed bag" for U.S.–Israel relations. According to Ari Shavit, Dermer is one of the few people Prime Minister Netanyahu trusts enough for the job, and Dermer's understanding of the American political system gives Netanyahu a way to navigate through Washington tactfully. On the other hand, Barak Ravid said, Dermer's is suspected by key White House aides Denis McDonough and Ben Rhodes of lobbying members of Congress against President Barack Obama's positions.
Dermer has five children. He is married to Rhoda Pagano Dermer. The family lives in Jerusalem.
- "Ron Dermer officially named Israel's U.S. ambassador". JTA. July 9, 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
- Hoffman, Allison (September 20, 2011). "Bibi's Brain". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- Kampeas, Ron (December 2, 2013). "'Bibi's Brain' Comes to Washington". Politico. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
- Smith, Ben (November 22, 2010). "Ron Dermer is key Mideast go-between". Politico. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- Berman, Daphna (March 11, 2005). "The quiet voice behind the roaring success. Co-writer of one of George Bush's favorite books says he couldn't care less that Natan Sharansky is getting all the limelight". Haaretz. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- Ahren, Raphael (February 6, 2009). "Political junkie takes show from Miami to Netanyahu". Haaretz. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- "About Adi". Adi Foundation.
- Oren, Amir (February 1, 2005). "Bro, talk to his brother". Haaretz. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- Hoffman, Gil (April 9, 2009). "Right-hand men, American-style". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- Hoffman, Gil (February 13, 2011). "Diplomatic shuffle: Ron Prosor to UN, Uzi Arad to London". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- Liphshiz, Cnaan (December 28, 2012). "Embassy denies Ron Dermer as envoy report". JTA. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
- Keinon, Herb (July 9, 2013). "Netanyahu taps close aide Ron Dermer as new ambassador to US". The Jerusalem Post.
- JTA (July 10, 2013). "American Jewish groups welcome choice of Netanyahu's right hand man as U.S. envoy". Haaretz. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
- Sharansky, Natan; Dermer, Ron (2004). The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror. Cambridge, MA: PublicAffairs. ISBN 1-58648-261-0.
- Dermer, Ron (January 18, 2011). "A Response from the Office of Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu". Time Magazine. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- Dermer, Ron (March 17, 2005). "Proud To Have Been an American". New York Sun.