Jewish Democrats congratulated Gregory Meeks of New York on Thursday after he was elected as the next chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Meeks will replace Eliot Engel, a staunch supporter of Israel, who lost his primary reelection bid and will not serve in the next Congress.

“I congratulate my dear friend Greg Meeks on his election as the next Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs,” Engel said in a statement.

“Serving many years together on the committee, I’ve seen up close Greg’s deep knowledge of foreign policy issues, his profound commitment to an American foreign policy rooted in our values, and his understanding of the importance of Congress’s role in these matters. I’m glad to be leaving the gavel in such good hands,” he said.

Halie Soifer, executive director for the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said in a statement that Meeks has a strong record of supporting the US-Israel relationship, “and we are confident he will work with President-elect Joe Biden to restore American global leadership, including in the Middle East.

“We are confident that Rep. Meeks will also work with a strengthened Biden Administration State Department to restore the importance of diplomacy and multilateralism as core tenets of US foreign policy,” Soifer added.

“This is important to Jewish Americans, who want to see America work with our allies to confront global challenges such as COVID-19, climate change and Iran’s nuclear development.”

Mark Mellman, president and CEO of the Democratic Majority for Israel, said in a statement that Meeks “brings to that role extensive experience, deep knowledge and a longstanding commitment to the US-Israel relationship.”

“We also celebrate the historic nature of this election as the Congressman is poised to become the first Black chair of the committee,” Mellman added.

“We were delighted that Congressman Meeks addressed our supporters recently to discuss his strong support for Israel, his opposition to additional conditions on US security assistance to Israel, his support for a two-state solution, his commitment to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and his plan to restore America’s standing around the world,” he said.

J-Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement that the progressive Jewish group looks forward to continuing to work together with Meeks, “to help revitalize the State Department and American diplomacy, to return the United States to compliance with the JCPOA [2015 Iran Nuclear Deal], to promote comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace and to oppose the dangers of creeping annexation in the West Bank.”