Israeli President Reuven Rivlin marked the third night of Hanukkah by lighting a menorah in Beit El, the West Bank settlement that is supported by Donald Trump’s Israel envoy pick David Friedman.
Friedman, Trump’s lawyer, is the president of American Friends of Beit El Institutions, which raises about $2 million a year from U.S. donors to benefit the settlement near Ramallah, according to Haaretz.
The Trump Foundation gave $10,000 to the foundation in 2003, reported the Jerusalem Post. And the family foundation of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, has given money to the organization.
Rivlin’s Hanukkah appearance at Beit El was to inaugurate a new study hall at the yeshiva there. In photographs of the event, he is joined by Zalman Baruch Melamed, the head of the yeshiva who has stated that certain Arab citizens of Israel should be stripped of their rights.
Rivlin doesn’t share that view, often saying that Arabs and Jews are “destined to live together.” The president advocates a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the Palestinian territory under Israel’s control.
Rivlin took a nationalistic tone at the Hanukkah event, calling the settlers the “pioneers” and referring to the West Bank, where Palestinians hope to build a future state, as “our land.”
This story "Israeli President Reuven Rivlin Celebrates Hanukkah at Settlement Supported by Trump Israel Envoy Pick" was written by Naomi Zeveloff.
Naomi Zeveloff is the former Middle East correspondent of the Forward, primarily covering Israel and the Palestinian Territories.