U.S. Amb. David Friedman to Keynote YU’s 88th Commencement
Yeshiva University named U.S. Ambassador David Friedman as the keynote speaker for its 88th Commencement. The envoy to Israel will also receive an honorary doctorate degree at the graduation event, which is slated to be held on May 30 at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
“Ambassador Friedman typifies the ideals that are central to Yeshiva University,” said President Ari Berman in a prepared statement. “He is an exemplary leader from our community, in both the diplomatic realm and the world of values, who is committed not only to strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship but also to building a brighter future for people of all nations.”
Friedman made history by executing President Donald Trump’s decision to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem on May 14, 2018 — the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence. He also played a prominent role in Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
“I am deeply moved by the honor afforded me by Yeshiva University, a Zionist-driven institution, whose values I have identified with and championed throughout my personal and professional life,” Friedman said.
Prior to his appointment as Ambassador to Israel, Friedman was a founding partner at Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, a New York-based law firm. Friedman earned a bachelor's degree from Columbia University in 1978 and a law degree from New York University School of Law in 1981.
In recent years, Friedman has made a series of controversial statements including comparing supporters of J Street, a self-described “pro-Israel, pro-peace” left-wing group, to “kapos,” and accusing President Obama of emanating “blatant anti-semitism.”
This will be the third consecutive year in which the Yeshiva University commencement will feature an Israeli Ambassador or Ambassador to Israel, following Ambassador Danny Danon’s keynote address in 2018 and Ambassador Ron Dermer’s keynote address in 2017. Other recent speakers have included Robert Kraft, Dr. Ruth Wisse, Dr. John S. Ruskay and Rabbi Joshua Fass.
David Friedman identifies as an Orthodox Jew and previously lived in the Modern Orthodox community in Woodmere, NY. He and his wife Tammy, who have five children and seven grandchildren, currently reside in Jerusalem.
Photo Caption: Ambassador David Friedman
Photo Credit: New York Times