Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Ambassador David Friedman with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on May 14, 2018.

Former US Ambassador David Friedman – a known, strong supporter of the State of Israel – seemed to reverse course on Sunday, questioning why the Israeli government would advance its judicial reform bill, given the proximity of the vote to the eve of Tisha B’Av, which begins this Wednesday night.


The about-face seemed so extreme, in fact, that responded to the tweeted with a question: “Was your account hacked?”

Other responses to Friedman on Twitter were far harsher and critical of the pro-Israel former ambassador.

Still, one thing that Friedman didn’t consider was a line from the Haftarah this past Shabbat Chazon. Something we pray for three times a day, and most definitely appropriate for the days right before Tisha B’Av:

וְאָשִׁ֤יבָה שֹׁפְטַ֙יִךְ֙ כְּבָרִ֣אשֹׁנָ֔ה וְיֹעֲצַ֖יִךְ כְּבַתְּחִלָּ֑ה אַֽחֲרֵי־כֵ֗ן יִקָּ֤רֵא לָךְ֙ עִ֣יר הַצֶּ֔דֶק קִרְיָ֖ה נֶאֱמָנָֽה

“I will restore your Judges as at first, And your Advisors as at the beginning. After that you shall be called City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.”

Yeshayahu 1:26

Quite appropriate timing for a Judicial Reform bill looking to repair the judiciary and legal advisory systems.

On July 12, Friedman defended the government’s plans in a tweet responding to criticism from New York Congressmember Jerold Nadler, who said that he continued to express his “profound concerns with Israel’s governing coalition’s anti-democratic judicial overhaul plans.”

In response, Friedman wrote: “Israel is trying to recalibrate the relationship between the parliament and the court, an issue raised and run on by the elected coalition government. In response to public outcry, it pulled back and has limited its first round of reforms to an issue with which the overwhelming majority of Israelis agree and which aligns it much more closely with the American judiciary. Instead of being a friend and encouraging Israel to find the right balance, this guy is just playing to his woke constituency at Israel’s expense. Some ally!”

Nevertheless, on Sunday (July 23) Friedman also retweeted a warning by Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who wrote that the current judicial reforms are “causing an ‘immediate’ threat to Israeli security resilience and compromising the country’s ability to hand Iranian threat. Or so says former Mossad chief and Netanyahu confidant Yossi Cohen.

“Dear Israeli friends,” Dubowitz continued in a second comment retweeted by Friedman that listed the current issues facing Israel, good and bad. “Prioritize,” he urged.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.