The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 12-9 last week to approve David Friedman’s nomination as U.S. Ambassador to Israel. A resident of the Five Towns Jewish community on Long Island, President Donald Trump’s nominee is also a bankruptcy lawyer, a writer for several major Israeli publications, and enthusiastic supporter of Israel. Friedman has been Trump’s friend and attorney for 15 years, and served as Senior Israel Advisor to Trump during his campaign.
Friedman has articulated his support of Israeli settlements and of relocating the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and against the certainty of a two-state solution as the way to peace. Friedman has spoken out openly against the liberal pro-Israel groups and their criticism of Israel.
Early on in the campaign, Friedman worked with Trump to develop the Republican platform on Israel.
Woodmere resident and family man Friedman is a well-liked member of the greater Orthodox community. He has garnered overwhelming support in his hometown and received praise from a range of institutions and individuals, with not much concern shown for his support of the somewhat controversial changes in policy proposed by the Trump administration, or any question of his ability in taking on the position.
Michael Fragin, a Republican strategist and Deputy Mayor of Lawrence has confidence in Friedman’s success. “David Friedman is a talented and accomplished individual who loves the United States and Israel with great passion. I have no doubt that he will utilize his formidable intellect and negotiating skills to navigate the sometimes difficult path of Middle East diplomacy.”
Friends and neighbors call attention to Friedman’s character as an indicator of his intentions and capabilities. “He is a compassionate, community minded individual who is very much concerned with the plight of others. He always looks to help and is involved with countless acts of charity both public and private,” says fellow attorney and Woodmere resident David Perl.
On any concerns about Friedman’s strong far right positions on Israel, Perl maintains they are unwarranted. “David Friedman is first and foremost a believer in democracy and the democratic process. Any backlash is completely misguided.”
Support for David Friedman is not limited to the Orthodox republican demographic. Rabbi Bruce Ginsberg of the Conservative Congregation Sons of Israel in Woodmere, who worked closely on communal issues with David’s late father, Rabbi Morris Friedman, has faith in his abilities. “As a brilliant, articulate attorney who knows the Jewish State well and has earned the confidence both of its leaders and the President of the United States, he will make an outstanding American Ambassador to Israel. Humble, charitable, and deeply devoted to family and neighbors, he is a model citizen who will bring honor to Washington, D.C. as its representative abroad.”
As for the next step for him to be considered by the full Senate, Rabbi Ginsberg hopes to see the continued progress in favor of Friedman has been in touch with Democratic Senators to that end.
“I am delighted that with the help of Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, David received the endorsement of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I have contacted New York Senators Schumer and Gillibrand’s offices to urge them to follow that principled lead by voting in favor of David’s appointment as Ambassador when his nomination comes before the full Senate.”