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Ambassador: US-Israel bond ‘extraordinary’

JERUSALEM, Israel – David Friedman made one of his first major speeches as the new United States ambassador to Israel Tuesday evening in Jerusalem.

Ambassador Friedman addressed the annual meeting of the Jewish humanitarian organization B’nai B’rith. Afterward, he gave CBN News an exclusive interview and addressed why current negotiations are held in private.

“It’s really a mistake to characterize it as to deprive all the parties of, you know, private conversations, which I think are necessary, so I’m really not going to get into it not because I want to be coy. I just think it’s the right way to proceed,” he explained.

Friedman believes President Trump has made significant progress since taking office in January.

“He’s made enormous strides,” Friedman said. “I think the trip to Saudi Arabia, the flight from Riyadh to Israel, the trip to the Vatican. Really it was an extraordinarily successful trip and I think you’ll see more success building upon that.”

US President Donald Trump prays at the Westren Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site in the Old City of Jerusalem on May 22, 2017. President Trump is the first sitting US President to visit the Western Wall. (Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90)
US President Donald Trump prays at the Westren Wall, Judaism’s holiest prayer site in the Old City of Jerusalem on May 22, 2017. President Trump is the first sitting US President to visit the Western Wall. (Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90)

During his speech to Tuesday evening, Friedman went off script. Instead of discussing U.S.-Israel relations, he addressed a pressing controversy between American Jews and Israel concerning the status of the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City. Friedman told CBN News current U.S.-Israel relations are deep and wide.

“Look, I think that the depth and breadth of the relationship is well beyond – is well beyond – what people ordinarily understand,” he continued. “When I have the privilege to work in the Embassy, they’re committed to trade; they’re committed to cultural exchange [and] various economic initiatives because it goes so far beyond what we see in the politics every day. The bond between the two countries is extraordinary and I don’t think that gets out as much as it should.”

This article originally appeared on CBN News, June 28, 2017, and reposted with permission.

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Chris Mitchell
Chris is CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief based in Jerusalem.

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