New US ambassador to Israel David Friedman visits the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in the old city of Jerusalem on May 15, 2017. AFP / Menahem KAHANA
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Controversial new US ambassador to Israel David Friedman arrived in the country on Monday to take up his post, days ahead of a visit by US President Donald Trump.Jewish-American bankruptcy lawyer Friedman has expressed skepticism over the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the basis of years of US peace efforts.Trump is expected to visit Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories on May 22 and 23 .Speaking at a pre-election rally in October in support of Trump on Jerusalem's Mount Zion, Friedman said the now US president would fire US State Department "lifers" who refused to move the embassy.He has also clashed with American Jewish progressive groups, notably dubbing liberals "worse than kapos", a reference to Jewish collaborators who worked as guards in Nazi concentration camps.His appointment comes as Trump seeks ways to restart moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, and questions have been raised over whether Friedman will be able to put his personal views aside.
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