Knesset says goodbye to US Ambassador David Friedman in special meeting

Knesset members thank Friedman for his achievements during his tenure with the Trump administration.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

The Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee held a special meeting on Monday to give MKs a chance to bid farewell and thank U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

Committee chairman Zvi Hauser of the Derech Eretz faction thanked Friedman for righting a historical wrong concerning Israel’s capital. “During your tenure, you have fulfilled the dreams of us all. During your shift, a historical distortion was corrected, and the traditional position of the United States realized in declaring Jerusalem as the capital of the state of the Jewish people.”

Speaker of the Knesset Yariv Lavin of Likud said: “It is right and proper that the Knesset acknowledge, in a formal and official manner, a deep and special thank you for Ambassador Friedman’s tremendous contribution to U.S.-Israel relations.”

Levin added, “These things did not happen by chance and are the result of your personal vision and investment in things that seemed almost impossible. We still do not really digest the impact and meaning of everything you have done.”

Friedman, who is leaving his post in nine days, said he can’t believe how quickly the four years flew. An Orthodox Jew, he said, “As in the Psalms it is said of God for whom a thousand years pass as a day, so for me the four years passed in the twinkling of an eye, which was fascinating and enjoyable to me.”

Friedman had the ear of the president throughout his tenure and is considered instrumental in bringing about important gains for Israel, including the moving of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and the recognition of Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights.

“We’ve had an extraordinary relationship, all of us, from the president of the United States with the prime minister to the cabinet secretaries of the United States to their counterparts in ministries here, to all the military and intelligence personnel who don’t appear in public but who’ve I had the privilege of sitting with,” Friedman said at the meeting.

Of all the accomplishments, Friedman listed the U.S. Embassy move as the most significant.

“I think that having the benefit of now four years of perspective, I do think the most important thing that we did was what we did early, which was recognizing the capital of Israel. That set the right tone, the right theme for our presidency,” Friedman said.

“That strengthened the president not just here but throughout the world. It strengthened him with Iran, with North Korea, because we took the position that America will stand with its friends. America will not flinch, be afraid of its enemies or those that challenge it. America will stand for the truth and do the right thing, and if there are consequences we’ll protect our friends and our allies and our citizens,” he added.

“Everybody thought that in the aftermath of the recognition [of Jerusalem] there would be an explosion. And they were right. But it was an explosion of peace, not an explosion of violence. From that moment forward we had set the right track in our relationship,” he said.

It may not be the last Israel sees of Friedman. He says he won’t pursue dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship in order to keep open the possibility of again serving in the U.S. government. “I’m going to stay American-only for at least four years.” he said. “I want to give myself every opportunity to return to government.”

His remarks, made in a Sunday interview with The New York Times, also indirectly hints at the possibility of a 2024 White House run by Donald Trump