File - In this Feb. 16, 2017 file photo, U.S. Ambassador Israel-designate David Friedman testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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A Republican-led Senate committee Thursday narrowly approved the nomination of the combative lawyer selected by President Donald Trump to be ambassador to Israel, setting aside concerns that David Friedman lacked the temperament for such a critical diplomatic post.Republicans said Friedman's atonement satisfied them. But Democrats argued the record of divisive statements cannot be erased and will compromise Friedman's effectiveness as Trump's envoy to Israel.Dylan Williams, J Street's vice president for government affairs, said in a statement after the vote that it was "by far the most contested vote on a nominee for U.S. ambassador to Israel ever," and a clear signal Friedman is a "completely inappropriate and disastrous choice for such an important position".Five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel, who served Democratic and Republican presidents, called Friedman unfit for the post in a February letter to members of the committee.
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