U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman scolded American Jews for their outspoken reactions to the Israeli government’s recent decisions regarding the Western Wall and conversions, calling any wavering on support for Israel “unthinkable.”
The envoy made the unusual comments in a speech during his first public remarks since taking office on May 16, according to the Times of Israel.
“I understand the source of the frustration and the source of the anger. But I heard a major Jewish organization say that they needed to rethink their support for the State of Israel,” Friedman said at B’nai B’Rith journalism awards ceremony in Jerusalem. “That’s something unthinkable in my lifetime, up until yesterday. We have to do better. We must do better.”
Friedman may have been referring to the reports about the Jewish Agency, which was one of many groups that slammed the government of Israel for reneging on its deal to create a pluralistic prayer space at the Western Wall.
Reform and Conservative Jewish leaders and Jewish Federation leaders also blasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for welching on the deal. But they reiterated strong support for Israel, which they said would be undermined by the Kotel move.