New U.S. Envoy to Israel David Friedman Presents Credentials to President Rivlin

At a ceremony at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, Friedman says he has a mandate from Trump to support Israel by every possible means; Netanyahu thanks Friedman for visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem upon in his arrival in Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.S. Ambassador David Friedman in Jerusalem, May 16, 2017.
Haim Tzach/GPO

The new U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, presented his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

In remarks at the ceremony, Friedman said that he has received a mandate from U.S. President Donald Trump to support Israel by every possible means. For his part, Rivlin told Friedman that the countries of the world should recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

U.S. Ambassador David Friedman presents his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin Ziv Sokolov/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv

After presenting his credentials, Friedman met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his bureau in Jerusalem. Netanyahu thanked the new ambassador for visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem upon in his arrival in Israel.

"It was a powerful gesture of solidarity. We look forward to welcome President Trump, and wish to work together with you and the president in the coming years to strengthen the great alliance between us," Netanyahu told Friedman.

Israeli President Rivlin (R) and US ambassador Friedman, May 16, 2017
GALI TIBBON/AFP

Friedman, who landed in Israel on Monday, was accompanied at the President's Residence by his wife and daughter. The ambassador expressed his commitment to do everything to strengthen ties between the United States and Israel and to ensure that relations remain unshakable. Referring to Trump's visit to Israel next week, Friedman noted that the American president's decision to visit Israel on his first overseas trip since taking office in January demonstrated his affection for the country.

Rivlin said that Israel looks forward to working with the Trump administration on ideas for advancing the peace process as well as confidence-building measures with the Palestinians. The president lauded April's American attack on Syria, which he said showed that American's red lines have real meaning.

Rivlin also made indirect reference to differences of opinion between Israel and the United States over moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and noted that next week (based on the date on the Hebrew calendar) Israel will be observing Jerusalem Day, this year marking the reunification of the city 50 years ago in the Six-Day War.

U.S. Amb. David Friedman presenting his credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
Gali Tibbon/AFP

The city, Rivlin said, has been the capital of the Jewish people, not only for the past 50 years, but for thousands of years, since King David's time. The Israeli president called on the international community to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital from a legal standpoint and as a practical matter.

Friedman had met earlier with Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who congratulated him on taking office and discussed with him the issue of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

"Israel is anticipating the transfer of the embassy to Jerusalem and the fulfillment of Trump's presidential promise," she said. "The people of Israel are united in their desire to see all the embassies in the capital of Israel, and our best friend in the world should start the process of returning the embassies to their natural place. There is no better time for that than now, in the year that we celebrate 50 years to the unification of the city."