Western Wall is US Ambassador’s first stop in Israel

Friedman, who is a practicing Orthodox Jew, headed to Jerusalem’s Old City right after he landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport.

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May 16, 2017 04:09
2 minute read.

New US envoy to Israel kicks off appointment at Western Wall (credit: REUTERS)

New US envoy to Israel kicks off appointment at Western Wall (credit: REUTERS)

 
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US Ambassador David Friedman’s first stop on the job in Israel was the Western Wall, where a simple prayer at the Biblical site, turned into a lager diplomatic statement.

Friedman, who is a practicing Orthodox Jew, headed to Jerusalem’s Old City right after he landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport.

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“It was a long trip. We are a bit tired, but we wanted to come straight to the holiest place in the entire Jewish world, the Western Wall, straight from the airport” he said.

Friedman arrived amid media reports that an American official in Jerusalem had told an Israel team preparing for US President Donald Trump’s visit next week, that the Western Wall was in the West Bank and was not part of Israel’s territory.


Last year the White House crossed out the word Israel from the top of the speech former US president Barack Obama delivered in Jerusalem.

On Monday, however, the US Embassy in Tel Aviv placed a note on its webpage, “Welcome to Israel Ambassador Friedman. First stop — a prayer at the Western Wall.”

It posted a video that showed Friedman’s black diplomatic car pulling up to the plaza, where he was greeted by Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich,



Friedman, who wore a suit and a skullcap on his white hair, prayed briefly by the wall and kissed is ancient stones.

“We just came here, my wife Tammy, my daughter Talia, the rest of the family is still in the States. I had the opportunity to say some prayers. I prayed for the health of my family, my children, my grandchildren. I prayed for the president and I wished him success, especially in his upcoming trip. It is going to be an amazing trip.

“I said the blessing that one says when one reaches a new milestone. We bless the Lord that he was able to sustain us and to bring us to this very special moment in time. God Bless the United States and God bless the state of Israel and of course the great and unbreakable ties between them.”

As Friedman walked back to the car, he saw members of the rock group Aerosmith, who had come to Israel just one day earlier in spite of calls by the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions moment to cancel their appearance here.

He immediately went over to speak with them.

“It’s my first hour on the job,” he told them.

“When people like you to come to Israel it’s the best. It does so much for the country. You are the top of the top. We need friends here, and when someone of your stature comes to Israel it makes a big difference,” Friedman said.

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