David M. Friedman

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David Melech Friedman

Birthplace: North Woodmere, South Valley Stream, Nassau County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Rabbi Morris Samuel Friedman and Private
Husband of Tammy Deborah Friedman
Father of Private User; Aliza Romanoff; Private User; Private and Talia Friedman
Brother of Private and Private

Managed by: Alex Bickle
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About David M. Friedman


David Melech Friedman (born c. 1959) is an American bankruptcy lawyer. In December 2016, he was identified as President Donald Trump's choice for United States Ambassador to Israel.

Early life and education

Friedman was born circa 1959 as one of four children to Rabbi Morris S. Friedman and Addi Friedman. His father was a rabbi at Temple Hillel, a Conservative synagogue in North Woodmere, New York, a hamlet in Long Island, and served as the head of the New York Board of Rabbis. His mother was a high school English teacher. Friedman grew up in North Woodmere.

He earned his bachelor's degree in anthropology from Columbia University, graduating in 1978, and his law degree from New York University School of Law, graduating in 1981. He has been a member of the New York bar since 1982.


Friedman is a bankruptcy lawyer who has frequently represented Donald Trump and the Trump Organization. He is a founding partner of the law firm Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, which he joined in 1994. In 2005, he developed a personal friendship with Donald Trump when Trump visited his father's shiva. He advised Trump on Israeli and Jewish issues during his presidential campaign, co-chairing Trump's Israel Advisory Committee along with Jason D. Greenblatt, an executive vice president for the Trump Organization.

Friedman is also noted for his philanthropic efforts. He serves as the president of the American Friends of Bet El Institutions, an organization that provides financial support to Israeli settlements located in Judea and Sameria. He has also contributed to United Hatzalah ("united rescue"), an Israeli organization that provides emergency medical services, and Aleh Negev, a village for disabled Bedouin and Jewish people in southern Israel. He has authored columns for the English-language Israeli newspapers Arutz Sheva and The Jerusalem Post.

Nomination for Ambassador to Israel

On December 15, 2016, the transition team of President-elect Donald Trump announced that Friedman had been selected to be the nominee as the United States Ambassador to Israel.

Friedman said in a statement that he would move the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which had been one of Trump's campaign promises. This position came as a departure to longstanding U.S. policy under both Democratic and Republican presidents, which has not recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The relocation would, however, be in accordance with the Jerusalem Embassy Act, passed by Congress in 1995, which requires the relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Since its passing, the executive branch has consistently suspended any action under the waiver power of the act.

Friedman's nomination was controversial, with some left-wing American Jewish and Israeli groups opposing his nomination. The far-left anti-Israel Jewish advocacy organization J Street "vehemently opposed" Friedman's nomination because of Friedman's opposition to the two-state solution and history of making controversial statements, including attacking J Street. Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, said that Friedman's plan to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and support Israeli annexation of the "West Bank" would lead to the "destruction of the peace process" and perpetrate "chaos, lawlessness, and extremism" in the area. Other anti-Israel organizations, including Americans for Peace Now, Ameinu, the Israel Policy Forum, and the New Israel Fund, also opposed the nomination. Six Democratic members of the House of Representatives, including Jewish representatives Jan Schakowsky, Jerrold Nadler, John Yarmuth, and Steve Cohen, have publicly opposed the nomination.

Other Jewish groups supported Friedman's nomination. Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy at the Orthodox Union, an Orthodox Jewish group, commended Trump for the nomination as a change in the relationship between Israel and the United States during the Obama administration. The Zionist Organization of America, Republican Jewish Coalition, and Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, all supported the nomination. Tzipi Hotovely, the Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, supported the nomination because of Friedman's pro-settlement policy, as did Dani Dayan, the Consul General of Israel in New York. The Yesha Council, the umbrella organization governing communities in Judea and Samaria, also welcomed the nomination.


He opined about Jewish supporters of J Street, writing in an opinion piece for the Israeli news website Arutz Sheva: "Are J Street supporters really as bad as kapos? The answer, actually, is no. They are far worse than kapos — Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps. The kapos faced extraordinary cruelty and who knows what any of us would have done under those circumstances to save a loved one? But J Street? They are just smug advocates of Israel's destruction delivered from the comfort of their secure American sofas — it's hard to imagine anyone worse."When asked about his comments on J Street at the Saban Forum, Friedman stood by his statements, saying that J Street supporters were "not Jewish, and they're not pro-Israel."

Settlement expansion

Friedman is a Zionist. He has endorsed the expansion of Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria.

Palestinian statehood

Friedman has questioned the need for a two-state solution, saying, "a two-state solution is not a priority…. A two-state solution is a way, but it's not the only way." He has said that Trump would be open to Israel annexing parts of Judea and Samaria. Regarding Friedman's views, then-incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said that "ultimately, it's their job to represent the president-elect of the United States and his foreign policy."

Criticism of Obama and the State Department

Friedman has accused President Barack Obama of "blatant anti-Semitism" for his support of the Iran nuclear deal and allegedly failing to adequately condemn attacks against Jews by Palestinians. He has also accused the State Department of being "anti-Semitic and anti-Israel for the past 70 years." He has been a harsh critic of President Obama's and Hillary Clinton's foreign policy.

Opposition to Iran deal

Friedman is opposed to the Iran nuclear deal, arguing that it would allow Iran to become a nuclear state. He claimed that "our political leaders, especially the Jewish ones, have failed us," by not defeating the deal.


On December 14, 2015, shortly after Donald Trump called for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration to the United States, Friedman expressed his support for "[banning] all Muslims whose words or deeds present the slightest risk of terrorist activity" in exchange for a ban on assault rifles.

Huma Abedin

Friedman has suggested that Huma Abedin, an aide to Hillary Clinton, has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Personal life

Friedman is an Orthodox Jew. His bar mitzvah was held at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. He has been married to Tammy Deborah Sand, from Miami Beach, Florida, since 1981. He owns a house in the Talbiya neighborhood of Jerusalem. He owns three apartments in Talbiya, and intends to live at one, while working with a small staff at the US Consulate General, which is in East Talpiot. He is a fluent speaker of Hebrew.

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David M. Friedman's Timeline

August 8, 1958
South Valley Stream, Nassau County, New York, United States