President Trump’s nominee to be the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, one of the international figures invited to address WND historic Israel tour this November, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
It was in a 52-46 vote late Thursday that senators endorsed Friedman, the son of an Orthodox rabbi.
“David Friedman loves Israel and loves America,” said Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and president of Christians in Defense of Israel.
“Now is a critical time to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Israel, and Friedman is the right person for this task,” he said. “It is horrendous that Jews can no longer live in Gaza, and Christians are a dwindling minority in Bethlehem. Israel must be recognized as a democratic state, and Jerusalem must be given the rightful title as the eternal and undivided capital of Israel,” Staver said.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported only two Democrats supported Friedman, Sens. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
“Republican support for Mr. Friedman was a sure thing despite a rocky confirmation hearing last month, punctuated not only by protesters critical of his statements opposing a Palestinian state and supporting Jewish settlements in the West Bank, but also by Democratic senators concerned about the harsh rhetoric he has used to attack politicians whose Israel policy differs from his,” the report said.
Liberal Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., opposed him on the basis of her belief that he “takes extreme positions.”
Democrats have claimed Friedman is not supportive enough of a “two-state solution” in which a state of “Palestine” would be created.
The Gazette reported Palestinians now are worried Friedman will move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
But the confirmation was endorsed by Israel’s ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer, who said he is “looking forward to working closely with you to make the U.S.-Israel alliance stronger than ever.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friedman “will be warmly welcomed as President Trump’s representative and as a close friend of Israel.”
Politico reported Friedman already has indicated he will live in Jerusalem while ambassador.
The vote was through a roll call on a position that usually has been done by voice vote or through unanimous consent.
Friedman, who previously served as a lawyer to President Trump, pledged during his confirmation hearing to affirm U.S. policy.
“David Friedman has the skills and experience to represent the United States in one of the most complex regions in the world,” Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., has said.
Friedman, along with Netanyahu, is expected to address the 2017 WND Israel tour group later this year.
“This is going to be a very different and very exciting tour,” said WND founder, Editor and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Farah, who has led tours to Israel the last five years. “It will still very much be a spiritual pilgrimage, but 2017 marks a major shift in the political landscape between the two countries, and we wanted to add that special dynamic to the trip this year.”
Friedman earlier won a 12-9 approval vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“By joining this tour, you will be among the first American groups to experience this new climate of partnership between the U.S. and Israel following the Trump Revolution,” said Farah. “This is something I am looking forward to personally with great anticipation. In fact, I’ve been waiting for this for 28 years.”
November may seem far away, but, in some previous years, registration has been cut off as early as June. To accommodate WND’s special guests, logistics will be more complicated than ever because Israel does not have an abundance of facilities that can handle groups of more than 400 people. Farah cautions the time to register is now.
The trip has been endorsed by Chuck Norris.
“I would encourage everyone to check out WND’s ‘Journey to the Holy Land’ from Nov. 2-12, 2017, led by our friend, Joseph Farah, who is the founder, editor and chief executive officer of WND,” Norris said. “He’s also an expert on Israel and the Middle East. Bibi and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman have been invited to speak to the tour group, and I hope they do. Check out the educational and inspiring itinerary here.”
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