Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman advocated for Israeli governments to adopt the Rebbe’s approach on shleimus ha’aretz in a recent interview. He also spoke Biden, Trump and judicial reform.
By Anash.org reporter
“Looking at the past, after a term of several years as US ambassador to Israel and continuous monitoring of the events even today, it is clear to me that there is no place and no point in making any concessions to the Palestinians. Today we understand more than ever how the Rebbe’s approach of no concessions is both correct and just.”
These powerful words were said by Ambassador David M. Friedman in an interview with the Kfar Chabad Magazine this past week.
Friedman is an American attorney and diplomat who served as the United States Ambassador to Israel from 2017 to 2021. Known for his staunch support of Israel, Friedman’s tenure was marked by a shift in U.S. policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He played a key role in the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that garnered significant attention and controversy. Friedman’s tenure also saw the deepening of U.S.-Israel relations, particularly in the areas of defense and economic cooperation.
In his interview with Kfar Chabad, Freidman spoke about his time as ambassador and the lessons he learned and discussed the current state of U.S. – Israel relations.
“There is no doubt that this is a serious problem and there is no doubt that the United States is making a serious mistake here,” he said when asked about the Biden administration’s approach to the current Israeli government. “The most prominent manifestation of the current state of affairs is, of course, the fact that they are not inviting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit Washington D.C.”
Friedman said that he was “deeply worried” about how things were playing out.
“As the tensions between the US and Israel continue and lengthen, there is certainly a potential here for the situation to worsen to the point of harming Israel’s security,” he warned.
He decried the White House’s outreach to Iran, its reaction to Palestinian terror, and its response to Israel building in the settlements.
When asked about the purposed judicial reform in Israel, and the mass protests against it, Friedman didn’t sound overly concerned.
“What has become clear since the announcement of the reform is that only a small percentage of the Israeli public is familiar with the legal details and understands what the judicial reform is coming to do. There is no doubt that the large protests and the demonstrations that take place every week are simply using the issue of the reform as an excuse for those who do not like the government to demonstrate and protest in an attempt to overthrow the government.”
When asked about the Republican primaries, Friedman demurred, saying he was not a prophet. He said that he personally supported former President Donald Trump, but would stand behind whoever the eventual nominee would be.
Would he return for a second term as ambassador?
“Those who know me know that I don’t like to sit in the stands doing nothing. The service I did was an honor and a pleasure for me and if my family members agree, I will return and offer my services for the American public and for the people of Israel.”
But his strongest words were advocating for the Rebbe’s approach towards shleimus ha’aretz.
“If only Israeli governments would fully adopt this approach and there would be a clear statement that there is no intention of giving up even one inch of the land!
“Israel should work to improve the lives of the Palestinians, help them pave roads, establish medical centers, build schools, etc., but in no way grant control and government over one more inch. Israel should make an effort to explain this position in Europe and America, and the argument should also be that this approach is also for the benefit of the Palestinians themselves, which is true.
“In any case, from Israel’s point of view, this is the most correct approach chiefly in terms of national security. It is impossible for Israel to agree to an enemy state with an army and weapons that are aimed at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. And also from the point of view of Jewish faith and history – faith in the name of the Hashem who gave us this land, rules out giving up any part of Beit El or Shiloh or Chevron or Shchem. As the Rebbe said – the very talk of a potential agreement to hand over parts of Eretz Yisroel is a danger!”