Senate narrowly approves David Friedman as US ambassador to Israel

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JOL: The US Senate on Thursday officially approved the nomination of David Friedman as the US ambassador to Israel by a 52-46 majority.

Friedman, an outspoken supporter of settlements and a longtime friend of US President Donald Trump, received an unusually narrow majority for an ambassador to Israel, with only two Democratic senators joining the Republicans in supporting his nomination.

The 57-year-old bankruptcy lawyer is in favor of relocating the Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. more

Opinion: Congress passed a law in 1995 mandating the move of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but allowed the President to exercise a waiver delaying the move. The waiver must be renewed every six months.

On December 2, 2016 Barack Obama signed the waiver for the eighth time which had been signed by every President since Bill Clinton, each time citing “national security” as the reason for the delay.

On December 18, 2016 Donald Trump pledged to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

On December 28, 2016 Ivanka Trump assured Jewish voters that her father would “100 percent” move the US embassy to Jerusalem if he is elected president.

Since then, however, there has been some wobbling:

  • January 31, 2017 (Breitbart) Trump decision to move the US embassy coming soon
  • January 25, 2017 (Salon) Sean Spicer repeatedly emphasized that discussion about a possible move is in its very early stages, suggesting no announcement is imminent for now
  • February 11, 2017 (CBS News) President Trump is still weighing moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, according to an interview he gave to an Israeli news outlet

The embassy issue did not come up with the Trump/Netanyahu press conference on February 15, 2017.

If nothing happens between now and May 2, 2017, when a new waiver must be signed, the world will know Mr. Trump’s intentions.