David Friedman
David Friedman Reuters

Richard Sandler, chair of the board of trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America, on Sunday expressed support for David Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel.

“I believe he’s a very intelligent individual, and I think he’ll be a good representative if he is confirmed,” said Sandler, in comments quoted by Haaretz. “My expectations of him are very positive.”

Speaking in Tel Aviv during the Jewish Agency Board of Governors meeting, Sandler said he had met Friedman several times in the past and was impressed with his knowledge of Israel and of U.S.-Israel relations.

“Obviously he made certain comments before he knew he was going to be vetted for the position of ambassador, but I thought he explained himself very well during the Senate hearings,” Sandler said.

Friedman, who served as Trump’s advisor on Israel affairs during the election campaign, was named by Trump as the nominee for ambassador to Israel in mid-December.

A longtime Arutz Shevaop-edcontributor, Friedman spoke out in favor of Israel numerous times during the campaign and highlighted Trump’s pro-Israel stance.

Several Jewish groups have been campaigning to block Friedman’s nomination, including the leftist J Street and the Reform movement.

In addition, five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel recently called on President Donald Trump to reconsider Friedman’s nomination for the post, claiming he is unqualified.

At the same time, Friedman has also received the support of some Jewish groups, including the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), a prominent Orthodox organization which endorsed him last week.

Sandler opined that there was a tendency among liberal Jewish-Americans to underestimate Trump.

“I think he is probably more knowledgeable than some people think on a number of topics,” he said, according to Haaretz, adding, “And I think he’s serious about wanting to find a solution here. I’m sure that whatever policies he and those around him decide are the right ones, Mr. Friedman will reflect when he is here.”