Friedman, 5 Towns hero, faces Senate


Five Towners rooted for a hometown hero last Thursday, as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held its confirmation hearing for ambassador to Israel-designee David Friedman, a Woodsburgh resident. During testimony in response to questions that ranged from hostile to softball, he calmly addressed the senators’ concerns.

WCBS TV sent a crew to Rambam Mestivta in Lawrence to record the reaction of students as they watched the hearings.

Friedman appeared contrite when called to account for the coarse nature of comments he directed at critics of the Jewish state before and during the presidential campaign. He had refered to members of J Street, the Washington policy group hostile to Israeli policies, as “worse than kapos” and to the Anti-Defamation League as “morons,” and he likened Sen. Charles Schumer to Hitler-appeaser Neville Chamberlain.

“These were hurtful words and I deeply regret them,” he told the senators.

Senator Marco Rubio criticized those feigning horror over Friedman’s J Street descritiopn, pointing out that the group had invited to its conference Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official “who has justified the murder of Jews as self-defense.”

The ZOA urged the Senate to confirm Friedman, referring to J Street as a “radical, extremist” group and praising Friedman’s “realistic and flexible approach to achieving peace.”

North Woodmere resident Cindy Grosz, who’s known Friedman for nearly 50 years, said that “David will be a great ambassador because he is real. … David’s first loves are just like his mom and dad and his siblings and their families. Their love of traditional Judaic values and customs, their time together with close friends and family, their belief in charity, and love of Israel.”