On Thursday, president-elect Donald Trump selected David Friedman as the new US-Israel ambassador.
“As the United States’ Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman will maintain the special relationship between our two countries. He has been a long-time friend and trusted advisor to me. 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. Nothing is more critical than protecting the security of our citizens at home and abroad,” Trump said in statement.
Friedman, with no diplomatic experience, has assisted in many of Trump’s legal and political actions in the past. In 2001, Friedman worked with a legal team from his firm, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, to restructure casino holdings for Trump in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In 2010, Friedman also aided Trump in bankruptcy litigation in Atlantic city regarding casino holdings. Friedman has also helped Trump regarding media, drafting responses to New York Times reports of sexual assault by two women and a $916 million loss recorded on a 1995 tax return.
Friedman voiced his optimism to serve as the US Ambassador to Israel on Thursday, stating “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.”
There is concern, however, from media sources that Friedman’s intentions regarding the West Bank. Friedman has claimed that Jerusalem may be annexed by Israel and his criticism of the “two state” solution that would create two independent states west of the Jordan River. Friedman has disagreed with the Obama administration regarding US-Palestinian relations, stating that Jerusalem is Israel’s “eternal capital” instead of Tel Aviv, which has been a source of political tension between the nations for decades.
Friedman’s long-time legal partner, Marc Kasowitz, stated Friday “This is an enormous honor, and it’s an enormous opportunity for the country. David is a brilliant lawyer… We think that the president-elect is doing a fantastic job in his selection… and we think David fits perfectly.”