JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Jewish Federations of North America endorsed David Friedman, President Donald Trump’s choice for U.S. ambassador to Israel.
“I believe he’s a very intelligent individual, and I think he’ll be a good representative if he is confirmed,” Richard Sandler, chair of the board of trustees of the major umbrella group said, Haaretz reported.
Friedman has been a controversial choice for the position, which serves in part as a liaison between American Jewry and Israel.
He serves as president of American Friends of Bet El Institutions, which supports a large West Bank settlement. He has expressed skepticism about the two-state solution and harsh criticism of left-wing pro-Israel groups, including calling J Street supporters “kapos.”
During his confirmation hearings last week Friedman said there was “no excuse” for his past rhetoric targeting liberal Jews.
“Obviously he made certain comments before he knew he was going to be vetted for the position of ambassador, but I thought he explained himself very well during the Senate hearings,” Sandler told the Jewish Agency meeting.
He also defended Trump, saying he thought that liberal Jewish Americans underestimate him and his desire to make peace in the region.