In the strongest signal yet that the incoming Donald Trump presidency in the United States could be one of the most supportive of Israel ever, pro-Israel attorney David Friedman was named as the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel. And in the Trump team statement, Friedman said he plans to work from the embassy in Jerusalem—which would be an unprecedented step in U.S.-Israeli relations. “I intend to work tirelessly to strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two countries and advance the cause of peace within the region, and look forward to doing this from the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem,” said Friedman in comments published by Trump’s transition website.
Trump himself emphasized his intentions to be close to Israel in the statement. “The bond between Israel and the United States runs deep, and I will ensure there is no daylight between us when I’m President,” said President-elect Trump. “As the United States’ Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman will maintain the special relationship between our two countries.” Israeli Education Minister and leader of the Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett tweeted his wishes of success for Friedman, calling him, “a great friend of Israel.”
According to CNN, Friedman said earlier this year that Trump would let Israel take the lead on the peace process. CNN quoted comments to Israel’s Channel 2 in June in which Friedman said, “What Mr. Trump believes is that any solution that Israel will propose, whether it’s a two-state solution or it’s some other creative, out of the box solution, which was designed to bring some incremental level of peace or tranquility to the region, he will be guided by what the Israelis want to pursue.” CNN also reported that Friedman expressed Trump’s opposition to the controversial Iran nuclear deal in that same interview.
Meanwhile, last week the announcement of Friedman’s appointment was uniting differing sides in Israel’s government. In addition to Bennet’s comments, Israeli government opposition leader Yair Lapid was very warm in his Twitter welcome to Friedman and his intended base of operations. “Look forward to working with Mr. Friedman, the new US ambassador & great friend of Israel, in his rightful office in our capital, Jerusalem,” tweeted the head of the Yesh Atid party.
The Trump press release on Friedman said the incoming ambassador is fluent in Hebrew and held his bar mitzvah—the traditional Jewish coming of age ceremony for young men—45 years ago at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Nearly half a century later, that same man now plans to represent the United States in that same capital city.
Said Trump of Friedman, “His strong relationships in Israel will form the foundation of his diplomatic mission and be a tremendous asset to our country as we strengthen the ties with our allies and strive for peace in the Middle East.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, December 17, 2016)