By COLlive reporter
Photos by Shneur Shif
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and his wife Tammy were the guests of the village of Kfar Chabad in central Israel on Tuesday, getting a close glimpse on Chassidic life.
Accompanying the Friedmans were Rabbi Zalman and Chanie Wolowik, co-directors of Chabad of the Five Town on New York’s Long Island.
The couples have been neighbors and close friends – a connection that was kept since President Donald Trump appointed Mr. Friedman as his envoy to Israel. Friedman will now lead the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was met with ire by Palestinian Arabs. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called Friedman a “son of a dog” for supporting Israeli settlements.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the verbal attack. “For the first time in decades, the U.S. administration has stopped spoiling the Palestinian leaders and tells them: enough is enough. Apparently, the shock of the truth has caused them to lose it,” he wrote.
Friedman, in response, cited the Pesach Haggadah that states “in every generation, they rise up against us,” adding that “the authors of the Haggadah did not see antisemitism as capable of being eradicated some 2,000 years ago. And regrettably, today, neither do I.”
He said the “new” antisemitism, characterized by “the irrational, deceitful, and insidious vilification of Israel and its supporters under the guise of political commentary” worries him far more than the “old” antisemitism.
While in Kfar Chabad, however, Friedman was all smiles and clearly unfazed by the Arab insults.
He toured the replica of 770 Eastern Parkway, Chabad Headquarters in Brooklyn, recited a prayer and watched a video of the Rebbe. Friedman and Rabbi Wolowik have often visited the Rebbe’s Ohel together.
Friedman met with local officials and activists, including Kfar Chabad Rabbi Meir Ashkenazi, Kfar Chabad’s new Mayor Nachman Reichman, Lod Valley Regional Council Chairman David Yifrach and R’ Shlomo Peles.
He used the opportunity to sell the ‘chametz’ in his possession for Pesach, write a letter in a new Sefer Torah scroll, visited the esrogim orchard, a leather bounding shop, and even roll out some dough at the Kfar Chabad Matzah bakery.
“The operation here is unbelievable,” he commented after receiving hand-baked Shmura Matzah. “Thousands and thousands of Matzot are being made on a very precise basis. They will be distributed around the world.”
“I want to wish everyone a Chag Sameach – Happy Passover,” he said in a video statement. “I’m here with my wife in Kfar Chabad, baking Matzot for the holiday… It was a great experience and very happy I’ve been here.”