U.S. Envoy to Israel Engaged Israeli Gov't, U.S. Jews in Bid to Resolve Kotel Crisis, U.S. Official Says

Trump administration encouraging 'continued dialogue,' official adds, but not getting involved directly as of now

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and David Friedman , the new United States Ambassador to Israel attend an event marking the 50th anniversary of Israel's capture of East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War, opposite the Old City wall and near the Tower of David in Jerusalem May 21, 2017.

WASHINGTON - U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has "personally engaged" the Israeli government and American Jewish organizations to try and resolve the crisis over the Western Wall, an American official said Thursday. The official added that the Trump administration encourages "continued dialogue on this issue." The administration is not getting involved directly in the conversations between the two sides, however, as of now.

Friedman first commented on the crisis concerning the scrapped plan to establish a mixed prayer space at the Jerusalem holy site on Tuesday, at a B'nai Brith event in Jerusalem. Friedman said that as a member of the U.S. Jewish community, he was stunned to hear that one of the major Jewish organizations announced that due to the crisis it would reconsider its support for Israel.

Friedman said he understood the anger and the frustration, and the idea that a major Jewish organization would reassess its support of Israel would have been unthinkable in his lifetime, until this week.

Friedman said there many things over which there was disagreement but that they could be resolved by mutual respect. Friedman called for unity and said the goal was not to win but to reach understandings.