Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took advantage of his opening remarks of the Cabinet meeting Sunday morning to bid farewell to outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
“Today we are taking our leave from U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. I must say that over the years I have met many ambassadors from many countries, including from the U.S., our great ally, but I can say that there was never a better ambassador than David Friedman in establishing the deep ties between Israel and the U.S., in correcting the diplomatic injustices that were created over the years in global diplomacy regarding Israel and in establishing the status of Yerushalayim as the capital of Israel, and many other things some of which have yet to be told.
“David, I do not know, when you were appointed ambassador, if you knew the mark you would leave behind, but today we all know it. We know that you were very active in bringing about the American recognition of Yerushalayim as the capital of Israel, itself a correction of an injustice that is difficult to understand.
“You not only did this but you acted quickly on the transfer of the American embassy to Yerushalayim and on the fact that in American passports it will be written ‘Jerusalem – Israel.’
“The second thing, you also acted to encourage recognition of our sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is also so natural and so necessary both from the perspective of justice and that of our security. You acted to correct this as well.
“Third, you acted together with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to change the approach toward the communities in Yehudah and Shomron, to make it clear that our presence there did not contravene international law. Moreover, you also changed the definition of Yehudah and Shomron from ‘occupied territories’ to ‘disputed territories’ and this is exactly the precise definition until it was twisted by elements hostile to Israel and hostile to truth.
“Moreover, you also acted, like we did at Ariel University, so that the scientific agreements between Israel and the U.S. would also apply to the communities beyond the Green Line, and it is good that they do.
“And there are two more very big things. You were a central element in planning and formulating the Trump Plan, which is the first serious plan for achieving a realistic peace between Israel and the Palestinians. What it has beyond security is – first of all – the need for the Palestinians to recognize the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people.
“The absence of this recognition is the root of the conflict. This is what has been maintaining this conflict for over 100 years since before the establishment of the State of Israel.
“You also worked beyond this to expand the circle of peace and cancel the Palestinian veto that stemmed from denial of the State of Israel, in effect to wreck this veto and overcome it so that we would be able to reach peace with countries in the Arab world and the four peace agreements we made over the last four months as well as those that will come afterward.
“This was a great effort that is good for the U.S. relations, good for Israel and good for peace. For all these David, thank you very much,” said the Prime Minister.
Netanyahu later bestowed Ambassador Friedman with a plaque, in honor of his tireless work on behalf of Israel.