Daniel B. Shapiro

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Dan Shapiro
Daniel B Shapiro ambassador.jpg
United States Ambassador to Israel
In office
August 8, 2011 – January 20, 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byJames Cunningham
Succeeded byDavid M. Friedman
Personal details
Daniel Benjamin Shapiro

(1969-08-01) August 1, 1969 (age 53)
Champaign, Illinois, U.S.
SpouseJulie Fisher
EducationWashington University
Brandeis University (BA)
Harvard University (MA)
WebsiteOfficial website

Daniel Benjamin "Dan" Shapiro[1] (born August 1, 1969) is an American diplomat who served as United States Ambassador to Israel from 2011 to 2017. He was nominated by President Barack Obama on March 29, 2011, and confirmed by the Senate on May 29.[2][3] He was sworn in as ambassador by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on July 8, 2011.[4] Previously, he was the senior director for the Middle East and North Africa on the United States National Security Council. As an Obama administration political appointee, Shapiro was ordered on January 5, 2017, to resign upon the inauguration of President Donald Trump.[5] On August 30, 2021, President Joe Biden appointed Shapiro as a special liaison to Israel on Iran.[6]


Dan Shapiro was born to a Jewish family in Champaign, Illinois, one of four children of novelist Elizabeth Klein Shapiro and University of Illinois English professor emeritus Michael Shapiro. He went to Westview Elementary and Edison Middle school in Champaign, and graduated from the University Laboratory High School in 1986.[7] He first entered Washington University in St. Louis, spending his sophomore year in Israel, and then transferred to Brandeis University,[8] where he obtained a bachelor's degree in 1991 in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies.[9] Two years later he earned a master's degree in Middle Eastern Politics from Harvard University.[10]

Dan Shapiro at Mimouna celebration in Ashkelon, Israel, 2013

Shapiro speaks both Hebrew and Arabic.[11]

Shapiro is married to Julie Fisher. The couple has three daughters. They are members of the Conservative Jewish Adas Israel Congregation in Washington.[12]

Public service and diplomatic career[edit]

From 1993 to 1995, Shapiro served as a professional staff member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee under Chairman Lee H. Hamilton. From 1995 to 1999, he was a legislative assistant and senior foreign policy adviser to Senator Dianne Feinstein. From 1999 to 2001, he sat on the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton, as director of legislative affairs, and as a Congressional liaison for National Security Adviser Sandy Berger. From 2001 to 2007, he was first legislative adviser and then deputy chief of staff (primarily on foreign policy issues) for U.S. Senator Bill Nelson. From 2007 till 2008, he was vice president of the Washington, D.C., lobbying firm Timmons & Company.[13]

Shapiro had served as an advisor to then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama on Middle East and Jewish community issues since 2007, also assisting as strategist and fundraiser.[14] He accompanied Obama on his July 2008 trip to Israel; in August 2008, Obama appointed him senior policy adviser and Jewish outreach coordinator for his 2008 presidential campaign.[15]

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Shapiro, at the Ambassador's Residence, with the Israeli hip hop duo Strong Black Coffee (July 4, 2015)

In January 2009, Shapiro was appointed senior director for the Middle East and North Africa of the U.S. National Security Council. Focusing on Israel, he attended every Israel-related meeting, and met with every senior Israeli diplomat and military officer who visited Washington, D.C. Shapiro often accompanied U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George J. Mitchell on his trips to the region, and played a central role in talks regarding the Middle East Peace Process and the strengthening of military cooperation between the U.S. and Israel. He maintained close relations with Benyamin Netanyahu, in spite of tensions between the Israeli prime minister and President Obama.[16] In June 2011, he was appointed Ambassador to Israel. Shapiro took leave of the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, on January 17, 2017 before holding his final meeting with Netanyahu two days later, which one newspaper described as a "terse farewell."[17]

After concluding his service as ambassador to Israel, Shapiro became a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.[18][19] Shapiro is currently a principal at WestExec Advisors.[20]


  1. ^ "PN337 — Daniel Benjamin Shapiro — Department of State". U.S Congress. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  2. ^ Katherine Skiba (May 29, 2011). "Champaign native confirmed as ambassador to Israel". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on January 26, 2020. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
  3. ^ "Obama Chooses Daniel Shapiro as Ambassador to Israel". The New York Times. Reuters. March 10, 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
  4. ^ "Swearing-In Ceremony for Dan Shapiro, Ambassador to Israel". United States Department of State. Archived from the original on 2011-10-18. Retrieved 2011-07-09.
  5. ^ Cesana, Shlomo (January 6, 2017). "US envoy to Israel among ambassadors slated to resign". Israel Hayom. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  6. ^ "Dan Shapiro appointed as State Department liaison to Israel on Iran". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2021-08-30.
  7. ^ Ambassador Dan Shapiro AllGov, accessed April 12, 2016
  8. ^ Paul Wood (February 26, 2011). "Champaign native may be next ambassador to Israel". The News-Gazette. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
  9. ^ Andrew Wingens (March 8, 2011). "Daniel Shapiro '91 to become US ambassador to Israel, according to POLITICO". The Justice. The Independent Student Newspaper of Brandeis University. Archived from the original on March 11, 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
  10. ^ "Daniel Shapiro". The Washington Post, WhoRunsGov.com. Archived from the original on March 14, 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
  11. ^ Barak Ravid (July 31, 2011). "New American ambassador to try to improve Israelis' view of U.S." Haaretz.
  12. ^ Adam Kredo (March 9, 2011). "Dan Shapiro to be America's new face in Tel Aviv?". Washington Jewish Week. JewishJournal.com. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
  13. ^ Tracey Ricks Foster (March 10, 2011). "Weekly news and press releases from the White House: President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". The Washington Review & Commentary. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
  14. ^ Jeffrey H. Birnbaum (February 13, 2007). "Hires of the Week". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
  15. ^ Hilary Leila Krieger (August 20, 2008). "Obama campaign appoints Daniel Shapiro Jewish senior policy adviser". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on September 17, 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
  16. ^ Barak Ravid (February 22, 2011). "Obama expected to appoint Dan Shapiro Ambassador to Israel". Haaretz. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
  17. ^ "Netanyahu bids terse farewell to US envoy". The Times of Israel. January 19, 2017. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  18. ^ "Dan Shapiro (@DanielBShapiro) - Twitter". twitter.com.
  19. ^ "Daniel B. Shapiro - INSS".
  20. ^ "Our Team". Westexec.com.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by United States Ambassador to Israel
Succeeded by