|18th Israeli Ambassador to the United States|
|Assumed office |
September 30, 2013
|Prime Minister||Benjamin Netanyahu|
|Preceded by||Michael Oren|
April 16, 1971
Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Pennsylvania|
Ron Dermer (Hebrew: רון דרמר, born April 16, 1971) is an American-born Israeli political consultant and diplomat who currently serves as the Israeli Ambassador to the United States. He previously 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 adviser to current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for four years. On July 9, 2013 Dermer was confirmed by the government of Israel as Israel's ambassador to the United States, replacing Michael Oren. He began serving as Israel's Ambassador to the United States in October 2013.
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.
Dermer earned a B.S. in Finance and Management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1993, and a 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 Rabbi 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.
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 is suspected by key White House aides Denis McDonough and Ben Rhodes of lobbying members of Congress against President Barack Obama's positions.
In January 2015 the Israeli Civil Service Commission censured Dermer for taking part in political campaigning for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in violation of Civil Service rules. The U. S. Administration took the unusual step of sharply criticizing the ambassador, after he played a key role in having Benjamin Netanyahu invited, without White House knowledge, to address Congress on Iran, in what the Administration regards as a breach of protocol. A spokesman said that the ambassador repeatedly put Netanyahu’s political interests before those of the relationship between Israel and the United States. In December 2015 Dermer received press coverage for his "politically charged" choice of holiday gifts sent from the Israeli Embassy, which he publicized as coming from occupied West Bank and Golan Heights.
In December 2016 he was criticized for accepting an award from the controversial Center for Security Policy, a conservative think tank led by Frank Gaffney, which was designated as a hate group by the SPLC. The SPLC encouraged Dermer to decline the award because it "not only further legitimizes this organization, but could be read as an endorsement of anti-Muslim hate by the Israeli government." For his part, in his acceptance speech, Dermer criticized the SPLC for calling Gaffney, Daniel Pipes, Maajid Nawaz, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and others anti-Muslim extremists. During his speech Dermer described "militant Islam" as a "virulent ideology now ascendant in the Muslim world".
In September 2018, the Israeli Civil Service Commission began an investigation into Dermer's handling of information regarding possible sexual harassment issues related to an employee Israel hired.
Dermer married artist Adi Blumberg in 1998. Two years later she died at the age of 29. Dermer met current wife Rhoda Pagano, a Yale Law School graduate, in Jerusalem when she was clerking for Aharon Barak, then Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court.
They have five children and live in Jerusalem.
- "Ron Dermer officially named Israel's U.S. ambassador". JTA. July 9, 2013. Retrieved July 10, 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.
- Hoffman, Allison (September 20, 2011). "Bibi's Brain". Tablet Magazine. 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. Archived from the original on December 31, 2012. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
- Keinon, Herb (July 9, 2013). "Netanyahu taps close aide Ron Dermer as new ambassador to US". The Jerusalem Post.
- Kampeas, Ron (December 2, 2013). "'Bibi's Brain' Comes to Washington". Politico. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
- "Israeli ambassador in U.S. reprimanded for forbidden political campaigning on behalf of Netanyahu" 26 Jan 2015 http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.639004
- Julie Hirschfeld Davis, 'Administration Official Criticizes Israeli Ambassador Over Netanyahu Visit,' New York Times 28 January 2015.
- Israeli Embassy Trolls White House, Exclusively Gifts Settlement Goods The Huffington Post, 22 December 2015
- Israel’s U.S. Ambassador Cozies Up to Muslim-haters, but Won’t Meet (Pro-peace) Israel-lovers Haaretz, 13 December 2016
- "Israel's U.S. Ambassador Slams Civil Rights Group for anti-Muslim Accusations". Haaretz. 2016-12-15. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
- Times of Israel (Sept 16, 2018) "Civil Service Commission looking into complaints against Keyes, Dermer" 
- Possible future Israeli ambassador holds two countries in his heart Miami Herald, 1 January 2013
- Envoy wise to American ways
- 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.