Many Israeli politicians were excited over the weekend by US President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of David Friedman as America’s next ambassador to the Jewish state.
Some went so far as to hail his reliance on the Bible in making policy decisions.
Friedman previously served as Trump’s lawyer. He transitioned to the role of trusted advisor during the recently-concluded presidential campaign.
Friedman visited Israel a number of times in recent months. Just after Trump’s victory, he told Israel Radio that Jerusalem should consider annexing the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.
Those positions have liberals in the US fuming over Friedman’s appointment and what it means for the “land-for-peace” process.
But most Israelis already view the the peace process as dead, and so see new hope in both Trump and Friedman.
“Friedman is an enthusiastic supporter of the people of Israel in the Land of Israel according to the Torah of Israel, and I wish him and us luck,” said Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home).
Friedman’s “positions reflect the desire to strengthen the status of Israel’s capital Jerusalem at this time and an understanding that settlements were never the real problem in the region,” noted Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud).
Even to the center of the political spectrum, Friedman was welcomed.
“Look forward to working with Mr. Friedman, the new US ambassador & great friend of Israel, in his rightful office in our capital, Jerusalem,” Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, posted on Twitter.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) insisted that most Israelis still want to separate from the Palestinians, not annex them, and that Friedman would need to learn that. But he nevertheless offered his welcome to the next ambassador.
Only to the extreme Left were the reactions hostile.
“Trump’s appointments are outrageous and one competes with the other for which is worse,” screeched Zehava Gal-On, head of the ultra-leftist Meretz party.
Gal-On did acknowledge, however, that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going to love working with Friedman.