US Israel envoy won't take sides on Kotel, conversion crisis
Speaking to an audience in Jerusalem, David Friedman acknowledges divides between Jews but refuses to take sides on gov't decisions over conversions and Kotel; laments hearing Jewish group say it will reconsider supporting Israel; 'I never thought I'd hear that.'
“There are people who dedicate their lives to Jewish unity, but unfortunately we are not where we need to be,” Friedman said during a ceremony held in Jerusalem. “There are so many other issues dividing us. I won’t take a side tonight. If you were wondering what my opinion is, you will be disappointed.”
Friedman also emphasized that he was speaking not merely as an ambassador, but as a Jew.
“Yesterday I heard something that I never thought I would hear,” Friedman told his listeners in his opening remarks. “And I understand the source of the frustration and anger. I understand. But I heard a big Jewish organization say that it needs to reconsider its support for the State of Israel," something which he said he could never think about in his lifetime.
Acknowledging that Jews and Israel could be better, Friedman said that there was a lot of room for blame on the matter of the decision to halt plans to establish an egalitarian section at the Kotel or that of the Conversion Bill. “But I can tell you that we can solve these issues only with mutual respect and understanding,” he said.