JERUSALEM (JTA) — The new U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, presented his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem.
During the ceremony Tuesday morning, 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 de jure.”
Friedman, an Orthodox Jew 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 in his remarks.
“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.”
The men toasted Friedman’s new position with glasses of wine, declaring “L’chaim.”
On Monday shortly after arriving in Israel, Friedman visited the Western Wall, 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.”
Trump is scheduled to visit Israel on May 22-23.
While at the Western Wall, Friedman bumped into Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith, who is scheduled to play a concert in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night. The two exchanged a few words before moving on.
Friedman, a longtime Trump lawyer who is heavily invested philanthropically in the settlement movement, had derided liberal Jews in columns and elsewhere over the years. He apologized for the comments in his U.S. Senate confirmation hearings.
His nomination was approved in March by a mostly party line Senate vote of 52-46.