Friedman, MKs Underscore Strength of US-Israel Alliance
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Tuesday that the United States helped bring a brewing political crisis between Israel and Jordan to a rapid end Monday, including involvement by American officials “at the highest levels.”
“We managed to quickly neutralize a situation that could have ended differently,” Friedman said.
In a statement following the Security Cabinet meeting late Monday night, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu thanked US President Trump for helping to diffuse the crisis by directing Jared Kushner and dispatching Jason Greenblatt to help with Israel’s efforts to bring the Israeli embassy staff home quickly.
Speaking at a Knesset reception hosted by the parliamentary lobby for Israel-US relations attended by former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, Lobby Chairmen Nachman Shai and Avraham Negosa, Opposition Leader Yitzhak Herzog MKs Amir Peretz, Yehuda Glick, Micky Zohar, Rachel Azaria, Elazar Stern, Aliza Lavie, and a gaggle of media, Friedman said the Israeli and American governments are ‘joined at the hip.”
The ambassador that in the week leading up to Tisha B’av, the anniversary of the destruction of the First and Second Temples in ancient Jerusalem, it was critical for the relationship to be strong.
Friedman noted that according to legend, before the Roman emperor Titus attacked Jerusalem, his aides told him to hold off on the attack, saying that the the Jews were already killing each other. “So especially at this time of year, it is critical for people who share the values of the State of Israel and the United States respect each other and work together,” Friedman said.
Friedman also acknowledged his controversial background – before becoming ambassador he said that left-wing Jews were “worse than kapos” for supporting land-for-peace policies with the Palestinians. But he said his goal to navigate the US-Israel relationship is to listen, more than to speak.
“I’ve been known to hold some fairly strong views – when you care about, it is natural to have differences of opinion.
“But we have to live together. There is only one State of Israel, one United States, and one bond between those two countries,” he said.
Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren also mentioned the shared values between Washington and Jerusalem, but added that there has been a fundamental change to the relationship since January.
“Under the previous administration, I felt like we were seen as part of the problem. Now, we are seen as part of the solution.
“But that also comes with responsibility, to work creatively to advance solutions that reflect [regional] realities,” Oren said.
Nearly all speakers addressed American involvement in liaising between Israel and Jordan on Monday in order to prevent a breakdown in ties over a stabbing attack at the Israeli embassy in Amman Sunday in which attacker was shot and killed. MK Amir Peretz (Labor) said the incident is proof that solutions and agreements can be made when that is what leaders want to achieve. Opposition Leader Yitzhak Herzog, who was recently ousted as chairman of the Labor Party, also praised President Trump for his help in navigating the crisis and called on the administration to intervene earlier in future.