Trump’s Israeli envoy pick David Friedman to have confirmation hearing this week


(JTA) — David Friedman, President Donald Trump’s pick to serve as U.S. ambassador to Israel, will have his confirmation hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week.

The committee announced Saturday that the hearing is set for Feb. 16, a day after Trump is to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.

Should the committee cooperate on his nomination, Friedman could be approved by the full Senate within several days.

The nomination of Friedman, a bankruptcy expert and longtime Trump attorney, was announced by the Trump transition team in December. Friedman, who speaks Hebrew and owns a home in Jerusalem’s Talbiya neighborhood, has expressed support for and funded construction in Israeli settlements.

He said after the announcement of his nomination that he would serve from Jerusalem, noting a move from the U.S. Embassy now in Tel Aviv. Trump team members said, however, that they are still considering moving the embassy.

Some of his controversial statements — including slamming backers of the liberal Israel advocacy group J Street as “far worse than kapos” and charging President Barack Obama with “blatant anti-Semitism” — have sparked outrage from liberal groups.

J Street has called on its supporters to contact their senators and encourage them to oppose Friedman’s nomination and to post on social media against him.

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