Monday, March 20, 2017
10 Things You Didn't Know About David Friedman; The lawyer has been a friend and adviser to President Donald Trump for more than a decade.
1. David Friedman was born and raised in North Woodmere, New York. His father, Morris Friedman, was the rabbi of Temple Hillel, a conservative synagogue in North Woodmere, and he led the New York Board of Rabbis. Friedman's mother taught high school English.
2. An Orthodox Jew, Friedman speaks Hebrew, and his bar mitzvah took place at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, among the holiest Jewish sites in Israel.
4. A New York attorney, Friedman represented President Donald Trump in bankruptcy cases involving his Atlantic City casinos, and Friedman says he has been a friend of the president since 2005.
5. Friedman advised President Trump during the campaign on Israel policy. As ambassador to Israel, Friedman would be the top-ranking U.S. official in the country, responsible for relaying and helping craft policy between the two governments.
6. Matt Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, praised Friedman's appointment as "a powerful signal to the Jewish community" that the U.S. intends to strengthen ties with Israel.
7. However, five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel questioned Friedman's appointment in February, writing that he has "extreme, radical positions" on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; he has been dismissive of the possibility of a two-state resolution in the past but has been more open to the idea recently.
8. Friedman is president of a fundraising group for a yeshiva settlement in the West Bank, where the international community generally considers such settlements illegal. However, Friedman has been outspoken in his assertion that settlements in the West Bank are not an obstacle to peace.
9. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 12-9 in March to advance Friedman to a final vote in the full Senate. In his initial hearing in February, he apologized for past comments: "The inflammatory rhetoric that accompanied the presidential campaign is entirely over, and if I am confirmed, you can expect my comments to be careful and measured."
10. Friedman has an apartment in Jerusalem, where he spends some Jewish holidays with his wife, Tammy, and their children and grandchildren. He has said he will live in Jerusalem if confirmed as ambassador, though the American embassy in Israel currently sits in Tel Aviv.