Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
February 17, 2011 - 1:00am

The Obama administration has tapped veteran Jewish diplomats Mara Rudman and Marc Grossman for senior posts.

President Obama said Wednesday that he is nominating Rudman to the top State Department post administering assistance to the Middle East through the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Rudman, who has served in senior posts on both the Clinton and Obama National Security Councils, has been involved in a number of groups promoting peace talks in the Middle East and was a senior official with the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims.

Should she be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she would likely play a key role in defending the allocation of about $500 million in assistance to the Palestinians against attempts by congressional Republicans to roll back some Palestinian aid.

Grossman reportedly is set to replace Richard Holbrooke, who died in December, as the administration's top envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A career diplomat until he retired in 2005, Grossman has served in senior State Department positions and was the ambassador to Turkey in the mid-1990s.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was set to announce Grossman's appointment on Friday, The Washington Post reported this week.

Cohen and Rudman outside of government have served in senior positions at the Cohen Group, a lobbying outfit established by William Cohen, a former defense secretary.


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