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David Friedman testifies before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on his nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Israel, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 12-9 on Thursday to approve bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman, President Donald Trump's nominee to be the U.S. ambassador to Israel.

The vote was largely along party lines. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez joined every committee Republican to back Friedman. Friedman is considered far-right on issues such as backing the expansion of settlements and relocating the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Friedman must still be considered by the full Senate. He is expected to be approved despite continued opposition from most Democrats.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)