US/World News

Lana Marks is nominated as ambassador to South Africa

(JTA) – Lana Marks, whose designer handbags have been carried by such celebrities as Jennifer Aniston and Helen Mirren, has been nominated to serve as ambassador to her native South Africa. Marks, who lives in Palm Beach, Florida, is a member of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club resort. Her nomination by Trump was announced on Nov. 14 and sent the following day to the Senate. Marks, who is Jewish, has no diplomatic experience. She speaks the native South African languages Xhosa and Afrikaans and attended the University of the Witwatersrand and the Institute of Personnel Management in Johannesburg. The South African government has been critical of Israel, with prominent South African leaders and organizations, including the ruling African National Congress, accusing Israel of practicing apartheid in its treatment of the Palestinians. The last ambassador to South Africa, Patrick Gaspard, a Democratic appointee, left his post in December 2016. The U.S. mission has been overseen since then by Chargé d’Affaires Jessye Lapenn.

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