Trump’s nominee to be Israel ambassador gets a hearing date

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., announced Saturday that the committee will hold a nomination hearing for David Friedman, President Trump‘s nominee to become the next U.S. ambassador to Israel, on Thursday.

Friedman’s nomination hearing is set for 10 a.m. on Thursday in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer who was nominated for the post in mid-December, could help lead many changes for U.S. policy toward Israel, including the potential move of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The White House has not announced any official decision for any possible move.

Holding many conservative positions on Israel, Friedman has also been an outspoken critic of left-wing positions regarding the Jewish state. In June of 2016, Friedman said that supporters of J Street, a progressive Jewish advocacy group, are “worse than kapos” for backing a two-state solution to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He has also said that he does not believe that Israeli settlement activity is illegal and opposes a ban on construction activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

However, Trump recently said in an interview that the continued settlement activity in both areas is not good for the peace process because it reduces the territory involved in negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.

“They [settlements] don’t help the process. I can say that,” Trump told Israel Hayom. “There is so much land left. And every time you take land for settlements, there is less land left. But we are looking at that, and we are looking at some other options we’ll see. But no, I am not somebody that believes that going forward with these settlements is a good thing for peace.”

Trump also said that he does not plan on spending much time criticizing Israel, pointing to his warm relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a main reason.

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