David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador-designate to Israel whose confirmation hearings begin Thursday, is certainly no stranger to the country where he hopes to take up official residence very soon. A frequent visitor to Israel, he owns a penthouse apartment in an affluent Jerusalem neighborhood where he makes a practice of spending the Jewish holidays with his family.
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In recent months, considerable attention has focused on one facet of his connection to Israel: his leadership position in an organization that fundraises for institutions and projects in the West Bank settlement of Beit El. Friedman has served as president of American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva Center since December 2011 and has pledged to resign as soon as his nomination is confirmed.
But a review of the financial disclosure report he submitted to the U.S. State Department ahead of his confirmation hearings indicates that Friedman’s ties to the country and its people span far beyond Beit El.
Among the positions he currently holds, Friedman is a member of the board of American Friends of United Hatzalah, an Israeli volunteer-run emergency medical treatment organization.
The ambassador-designate has holdings in the Montefiore Winery, which has offices in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, as well as in TowerSec, an Israeli-founded company, based in Detroit, that specializes in automotive cyber security. He also owns shares in Maverick Ventures, a California-based investment firm owned and managed by Israelis that focuses on Israeli high-tech.
Friedman is a partner in Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, a New York-based firm where he specializes in bankruptcy law. Among his big clients is one of Israel’s wealthiest tycoons, Yossi Maiman, chairman of the Herzliya-based Merhav Group. Friedman has represented him in at least five bankruptcy cases since 2012.