On September 15, 2020, President Donald Trump stood on a White House balcony and proclaimed the “dawn of a new Middle East,” as he hosted the signing ceremony for the Abraham Accords.
And over the next thirteen months, the almost unimaginable happened: the first Israeli embassy opened in Abu Dhabi — and the first embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Tel Aviv. Israel and Bahrain exchanged ambassadors, Israel’s foreign minister visited Morocco, the Sudanese agreed to establish ties with Tel Aviv and Israelis excitedly began flying direct to Dubai.
In his new book, Sledgehammer, Ambassador David Friedman tells the story of a small team of neophyte diplomats who threw away the State Department playbook, recruited the support of both the Oval Office and the highest echelons of power in the Middle East and wound up in the intense negotiations that led to this historic breakthrough.
The Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center is honored to welcome Ambassador Friedman to discuss the strategy behind what they did, the leverage the US applied to firm up Israel’s place in the Middle East and what they thought — or at least hoped — would happen next, especially with the Palestinians.
Prior to his appointment as US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman was a bankruptcy attorney. He also served as head of the American Friends of Bet El Institutions, which opposes a two-state solution and supports Israeli settlements. During the 2016 presidential campaign, he cochaired Donald Trump’s Israel Advisory Committee.