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'Wall This Way'

Newly arrived Ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks with Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler at the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray in Jerusalem's Old City, Monday, May 15, 2017
AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner
When the new US envoy met the rock legend in Jerusalem

In an unexpected meeting at Jerusalem's Western Wall on Monday, the lead singer of American rock band Aerosmith, Steven Tyler, was introduced to newly-arrived US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

Aerosmith are due to play a concert in Tel Aviv on Wednesday evening.

According to reports, the rock legend known for his excesses had a brief conversation with the religious envoy, who was coincidentally visiting the holy site at the same time.

"I prayed for the health of my family," said Friedman, "I prayed for the President and I wished him success especially in his upcoming trip."

"God bless the United States and God bless [Israel] and of course the great and unbreakable ties between them" he added.

Friedman's nomination sparked controversy, with protests from activists repeatedly interrupting his confirmation hearings earlier this year.

The Jewish-American bankruptcy lawyer has expressed skepticism over the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the basis of years of US peace efforts.

He has also advocated breaking with decades of precedent by moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem, a prospect deeply alarming to Palestinians.

Friedman has 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.

Friedman's support for settlements has drawn particular attention. He serves as president of American Friends of Bet El Institutions, an organization that supports a large West Bank settlement just outside Ramallah.

However, in his confirmation hearing Friedman changed course, claiming he would be "delighted" if Israel and the Palestinians could achieve a two-state solution and that it remains the “best possibility” for peace in the region.


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