(JNS.org) The Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition (HILC), a leading pro-Israel Latino Christian initiative, has expressed its support for President-elect Donald Trump’s choice of David Friedman as the incoming administration’s ambassador to Israel.
“In light of the Obama Administration’s eight years of anti-Israel policy, the Friedman appointment sends a powerful signal that President-elect Trump will strengthen the bond between America and its greatest ally in the Middle East, Israel,” Pastor Mario Bramnick, president of HILC, said in a statement.
Trump announced the appointment of Friedman, an attorney who had served as one of the president-elect’s advisers on Israel during last year’s campaign, in mid-December. Trump’s choice was swiftly praised by conservative-leaning pro-Israel organizations and some centrist groups, while being panned by the liberal Jewish lobby group J Street.
Friedman’s ambassadorship likely signals a sharp break from President Barack Obama’s hard stance against Israeli settlement construction beyond the 1967 lines. Friedman has stated that he does not believe international law prohibits Israel from annexing the West Bank, and that he supports moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a position opposed by Obama as well as former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
“As evangelicals we believe that the land of Israel, with Jerusalem as the undivided and eternal capital, was given by God to the Jewish people,” Bramnick said. “Mr. Friedman has a clear understanding of that mandate and will be an important advocate for Christian religious freedom in Israel and the Israeli territories.”
HILC is a subsidiary of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which calls itself America's largest international Hispanic evangelical organization.