David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, recently visited the Bnei Brak headquarters of Achiya, an ultra-Orthodox charity group.
And as usual, there were photos taken.
For one photo, the ambassador was handed a large poster of what appeared to be the Temple Mount, and the cameras clicked.
That photo has now generated an apology from the organization.
The poster Friedman was handed, which appears in the photo, shows a Temple Mount with a Jewish Temple in place of the Islamic Dome of the Rock.
What’s missing in this photo of Jerusalem that US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman is looking at? The Dome of the Rock & Al-Aqsa Mosque. Removing the Islamic holy sites is a long-term goal of far-right Israeli Jewish extremists who want to erase Palestinians from Jerusalem. pic.twitter.com/Y0AnKbAm2B
— The IMEU (@theIMEU) May 22, 2018
The incident was noticed by the Institute for Middle East Understanding, which posted a social-media comment about it.
Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz of Breaking Israel News reported the image handed to Friedman had been altered digitally, “removing the images of the Islamic structures that currently dominate the site. In their stead was a computer generated image of the Jewish Temple that once stood at the site.”
He reported the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem released a statement that the image did not reflect U.S. policy.
“Ambassador Friedman was not aware of the image thrust in front of him when the photo was taken. He was deeply disappointed that anyone would take advantage of his visit to Bnei Brak to create controversy. The U.S. policy is absolutely clear: we support the status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount,” the embassy statement said.
Achiya officials also apologized for letting an employee hand the controversial image to the ambassador.
“The management of Achiya wishes to apologize to the American Ambassador in Israel, Mr. David Friedman, and to the U.S. Embassy in Israel,” the group said in a statement.
“An employee from the Achiya organization handed the ambassador a poster that was not approved by Achiya, the embassy, or the ambassador.”