Sources: Netanyahu Is Pleased With Trump's Choice of Friedman for Israeli Ambassador

Deputy foreign minister describes appointment as 'good news for Israel' while Meretz leader calls it 'catastrophic,' saying Netanyahu couldn't have wished for better.

Barak Ravid
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Billionaire real estate developer Donald J. Trump, center, his daughter Ivanka Trump, right, and attorney David Friedman exit U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Camden, New Jersey, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010.
Attorney David Friedman with billionaire real estate developer Donald J. Trump, center, his daughter Ivanka Trump, right, in 2010.Credit: Bloomberg
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pleased with President-elect Donald Trump's pick of David Friedman as the next United States ambassador to Israel, sources close to the premier say.

The prime minister knows that Trump has full confidence in Friedman and expects to work closely with him.

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Responding to Friedman's appointment on Saturday, opposition leader and Zionist Union Chairman Isaac Herzog said he expects the incoming envoy to accept that the the majority of Israelis may not agree with some of his positions with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"I don't think Israel should intervene in U.S. government appointments," he said in a political forum in Tel Aviv. "However, I expect the designated ambassador to recognize that most of the Israeli public isn't willing to annex three million Palestinians, but wants to separate from them and believes in the two-state vision for peace with the Palestinians and our neighbors."

Right-wing politicians Israeli politicians echoed Netanyahu's sentiment on Friedman over the weekend. Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely "welcomed" the nomination of Friedman on her Facebook page, describing it as "good news for Israel."

"His positions encapsulate the desire to strengthen the status of Israel's capital, Jerusalem, and the understanding that settlements have never been the real problem in the region," Hotovely said.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett wished Friedman good luck, describing him as "a great friend of Israel."

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said that he looked forward to working with Friedman "in his rightful office in our capital, Jerusalem."

The Yesha Council, which represents West Bank settlers, said in a statement that Friedman "loves all of the Land of Israel and the People of Israel, including the settlers in Yehuda and Shomron."

"I am certain that his knowledge and understanding of the needs of Israel will assist him in strengthening the links between Israel and the United states," said Oded Ravivi, head of the municipal council of the settlement Efrat.

On the other hand, Zehava Galon, the leader of the left-wing Meretz party, called Friedman's appointment "catastrophic."

"I love the Jews in the United States and am sure that they know better than anyone – about how the two-state solution is not appropriate and that the peace process is a failed idea – while we pay the price of unnecessary wars," Galon said at a conference of the Limmud organization in Eilat on Friday.

"Netanyahu couldn't have wished for a better ambassador," she said.

Friday's editorial in The New York Times attacked the appointment, calling it a dangerous move. The editorial board stated that Trump's choice of Friedman showed "dangerous ignorance of or indifference to the land mines across the Middle East." It called on the U.S. Senate not to confirm the appointment, and to save Trump from the "reckless" decision.

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