JERUSALEM — The new U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, presented his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday, one week before a visit there by President Trump and celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.
During a ceremony in the presidential residence, Rivlin identified himself as a seventh-generation Jerusalemite and noted, “Next week, we will celebrate 50 years since Jerusalem was united, and the Jewish people were able to once again pray at the Western Wall.
“But Jewish Jerusalem is not 50 years old. Since the days of King David, this city has been our capital. It is time for the whole world to recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of the state of Israel. De facto, not just du jour.”
Friedman, an Orthodox Jew from the Five Towns community of Woodsburg, who owns an apartment in Jerusalem, also presented his wife, Tammy, and daughter, Talia, to Rivlin following the playing of the American national anthem by an Israeli military band.
“Serving the U.S as its ambassador to the state of Israel is the greatest honor of my life, and I pledge to you to do all that I can to strengthen and enhance the relations between our two great nations — that you accurately described as unbreakable and, I would add, without limits,” Friedman said.
“I am so grateful to President Trump for giving me the opportunity, for having confidence in my abilities, and most importantly for sending me off this past week with the unequivocal and unambiguous mandate to support the State of Israel in every way, and in all ways.”
In welcoming Friedman, Rivlin called for “the whole world to recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of the state of Israel.
On Monday shortly after arriving in Israel, Friedman visited the Kotel, where he said in a short video clip posted on Facebook that “I prayed for, of course, the health of my family, my children, my grandchildren. I prayed for the president and I wish him success, especially in his upcoming trip.”
At the Kotel, Friedman bumped into Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith, who was scheduled to play a concert in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park on Wednesday night. The grizzled rocker and white-haired diplomat were quite the odd couple, making for an interesting photo op. They exchanged a few words before moving on.