Photo by U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv/Flickr

Friedman hosts first 4th of July celebration in Israel


U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and his wife Tammy hosted their first 4th of July celebration at the Ambassador’s official residence in Herzliya on Monday. The annual event also served as an occasion to “mark the commencement of their tour in Israel,” according to the official invitation.

[This story originally appeared on jewishinsider.com]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended and delivered remarks. In break with tradition, Friedman also invited settlement regional leaders and mayors to the diplomatic event. Settler leaders are usually only invited to events at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, which is responsible for the West Bank since the implementation of the Oslo Accords.

“The excitement and the energy at the Ambassador’s celebration is consistent with the approach he takes to diplomacy,” Oded Revivi, Chief Foreign Envoy of YESHA Council, told Jewish Insider. “His approach is inclusive. He appears to be seeking out perspectives on all sides of the spectrum.”

President Reuven Rivlin met with Friedman at the beginning of the event but left before the official part of the event due to a scheduling conflict.

In his remarks, Friedman noted that the last time he hosted a party in Israel was at his Bar Mitzvah. “The spirit of both parties is exactly the same,” he said. “It is the spirit of patriotic Americans committed to increasing the ties and enhancing the relationship between the U.S. and the state of Israel.”

To which Netanyahu remarked, “You had your Bar Mitzvah in Israel. I had my Bar Mitzvah in America – where else. You know the twist of faiths.”

Netanyahu — who was introduced by Friedman as a personal friend of President Trump — dedicated a significant portion of his remarks to heap praise on Trump, saying that the historic bond between the U.S. and Israel “was so evident” in Trump’s visit to Israel in May. “President Trump was the first U.S. president who chose to make his first foreign trip to Israel. We will always remember that,” the Prime Minister said. “His speech at the Israel Museum left an indelible mark. I have spoken to many Israelis, they said they were so uplifted by the speech, by the spirit of friendship, and the spirit of solidarity that the president expressed with Israel. We were all moved by that. And when the president decided – as the first sitting U.S. president – to visit the Western Wall and he touched those stones, he touched our hearts. As did First Lady Melania. As did Jared and Ivanka.”

Former Ambassador Daniel Shapiro was spotted chatting with Friedman on the receiving line for dignitaries inside the Ambassador’s residence.