David Friedman is the first American ambassador to ever make an official visit to Yehudah and Shomron. Friedman on Tuesday attended an event in Ariel sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Yehudah and Shomron, a group that fosters business ties between Israelis and Palestinians in the region.
Although American representatives have paid visits to individuals and organizations in Yehudah and Shomron in the past – largely condolence calls to families from the U.S. who lost loved ones to terror attacks – those visits were private, not officially sponsored by the U.S. Embassy. Friedman’s visit Tuesday was the first ever by an American ambassador representing the U.S. in that capacity.
Commenting on the experience afterwards on social media, Friedman said that at the event he met “with Palestinian and Israeli business leaders ready, willing and able to advance joint opportunity & peaceful coexistence. People want peace and we are ready to help! Is the Palestinian leadership listening?”
Avi Zimmerman, chairman of the organization, said that it was “greatly honored” by Friedman’s attendance, which gave much encouragement to the group. “Our main work is to encourage better relationships between Israeli and Palestinian businesspeople,” he said in a statement. “We mostly do this quietly, but the support of the American ambassador for our work is a very public event, and we are very proud to have been a part of it.”