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Launching think tank, former US envoy eyes bringing Muslim tourists to Jerusalem

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

(L to R) FIFA President Gianni Infantino, former US secretary of the treasury Steve Mnuchin, and former US ambassador to Israel David Friedman attend the launch of the "Friedman Center for Peace through Strength" at the Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem on October 11, 2021. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)
(L to R) FIFA President Gianni Infantino, former US secretary of the treasury Steve Mnuchin, and former US ambassador to Israel David Friedman attend the launch of the "Friedman Center for Peace through Strength" at the Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem on October 11, 2021. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

Speaking at the celebratory opening of The Friedman Center for Peace through Strength, former US ambassador to Israel David Friedman says that his organization will work to bring Muslims to Jerusalem, so that they see for themselves the way Israel protects holy sites, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“We are on the cusp of ending the Israeli-Arab conflict and changing the Middle East,” he says to applause.

The event is attended by former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, former Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, Israeli officials and NFL quarterback Peyton Manning. Opposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu is also attending.

Ivanka Trump, businesswoman and daughter of former US President, her husband Jared Kushner, and former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attend the launch of the “Friedman Center for Peace through Strength” at the Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem on October 11, 2021. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who were at the Abraham Accords event at the Knesset earlier in the day, stopped by the reception and are now on a plane back to the US.

After being presented with the first Peace through Strength award by Friedman, Pompeo says that peace comes from strength, truth and clarity. He says that recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights was simply a matter of stating the clearly evident truth.

Turning to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pompeo says: “We knew it was important to be strong to the end,” implicitly criticizing the Biden administration.

He thanks Netanyahu by name, but does not mention Bennett or Lapid.

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