Trump taps adviser David Friedman for ambassador to Israel


President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday announced his pick of adviser David Friedman for U.S. ambassador to Israel.

“The bond between Israel and the United States runs deep, and I will ensure there is no daylight between us when I’m president,” Trump said in a statement, saying Friedman would “maintain the special relationship between our two countries.”

“He has been a long-time friend and trusted adviser to me,” Trump added of Friedman, an attorney who is also a co-chair on Trump’s Israel advisory committee.

{mosads}“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 to our allies and strive for peace in the Middle East,” Trump continued.

“Nothing is more critical than protecting the security of our citizens at home and abroad.”

Friedman said he was “deeply honored and humbled” to be selected for the post and said he would work to ensure an iron-clad friendship between the U.S. and Israel, a key ally in the Middle East.

He also indicated that Trump would make good on his pledge to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

While Israel declared Jerusalem its capital in 1950, the U.S. has long joined other countries in not recognizing it as such, instead maintaining a diplomatic presence in Tel Aviv.

Some Republicans have pushed for the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem, which would upend decades of policy. Israelis and Palestinians both maintain Jerusalem as their capital city.

“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, who is a founding partner of the national law firm Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP.

Trump’s pick of Friedman comes over the selection of other potential choices, such as Mike Huckabee. The former Arkansas governor denied reports last month that he was the ambassador pick. He said he was offered a Cabinet position but it wasn’t “the right fit.”

J Street, a liberal Israel advocacy group, said Thursday it is “vehemently opposed” to Friedman’s nomination.

“This nomination is reckless, putting America’s reputation in the region and credibility in the world at risk,” a spokesman said in a statement. “Senators should know that the majority of Jewish Americans oppose the views and values this nominee represents.

“J Street calls on all friends of Israel who believe its future, democracy and security depend on two states to join us in opposing the nomination.”

Updated: 7:55 p.m. 

Tags adminsitration Diplomacy Donald Trump Foreign policy Israel Politics

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