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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Ambassador Friedman Photograph Sparks Controversy

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said he was “deeply disappointed” to have a photo of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, photo-shopped with the mosques replaced by the Temple, thrust in front of him during a tour of a religious town.

“Ambassador Friedman was not aware of the image thrust in front of him when the photo was taken,” the U.S. embassy said Tuesday on Twitter.

“He was deeply disappointed that anyone would take advantage of his visit to Bnei Brak to create controversy,” it said. “The U.S. policy is absolutely clear: we support the status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.” Haram al-Sharif is the Muslim term for the site

Friedman had toured Bnei Brak, a mostly haredi Orthodox suburb of Tel Aviv. It’s not clear who thrust the massive photo in front of him, but he is smiling in the picture and it quickly went viral.

Friedman was a central figure influencing President Donald Trump to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem earlier this month. Trump, Freidman and others have emphasized that the move, which has prompted outrage among Palestinians and others in the Muslim world, should have no bearing on the status quo of the holy sites.

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