Netanyahu, settlers welcome confirmation of Trump envoy pick
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Netanyahu, settlers welcome confirmation of Trump envoy pick

PM says David Friedman will be warmly received in Jerusalem; J Street, NIF 'heartened' by opposition to appointment

David Friedman, confirmed as US Ambassador to Israel, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
David Friedman, confirmed as US Ambassador to Israel, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the confirmation by the US Senate on Thursday of David Friedman as US envoy to Israel, saying he would be received warmly by Israel.

Netanyahu took to Twitter to say that Friedman would be “warmly welcomed as US President Trump’s representative and as a close friend of Israel.”

Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer also congratulated Friedman on social media, posting on Twitter that he was “looking forward to working closely with [Friedman] to make the US-Israel alliance stronger than ever.”

The 57-year-old bankruptcy attorney, a Hebrew-speaker and longtime friend of the president’s, will be taking up a position considered one of the most sensitive diplomatic assignments, overcoming a confirmation process that had been fraught with controversy.

A vocal and financial supporter of the settlement movement, Friedman has been outspoken in his belief that West Bank settlement activity is not an obstacle to peace and that Israel does not face a “demographic threat” to its Jewish character if it fails to separate from the Palestinians, a break from US policy over the last decades.

The settler umbrella group the Yesha Council also welcomed the confirmation, caling Friedman “a true friend of Israel that [sic] has a deep understanding of the reality on the ground and he will be a great asset to Israeli-American relations.”

“The Yesha Council look forward to working together with him to build a brighter future for everyone in the region. The Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria are an integral piece in the puzzle for peace and can no longer be sidelined,” said Chief Foreign Envoy of the YESHA Council Oded Revivi in a statement on Thursday.

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