US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, both Orthodox Jews, have reportedly received rabbinic approval to fly with the president as he sets off for a Middle Eastern and European trip on Friday that will take him to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy and Brussels.
A White House official said that the two have received a rabbinical dispensation to join the president aboard Air Force One as he sets off on his first overseas tour, Politico reported on Friday.
Jewish law does not permit travelling on the Sabbath except in cases where there is a danger of risk to life. So, for example, Jewish doctors and medical personnel are permitted to drive to seriously ill patients as are soldiers protecting the country’s security.
The president had given Jared the task of trying to broker a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, so he may play a senior advisory role in Trump’s Middle East visit.
“If you can’t produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can,” Trump told Kushner at a gala a few days before his inauguration.
Though it has been claimed several times in the past that Ivanka and Jared received rabbinic permission to break Shabbat, the White House has never stated which rabbi gave them the dispensation.
In January, Marc Zell, the chair of the Republican party in Israel, said a family spokesperson told him the couple had received a special dispensation to use a car to reach inaugural events after the onset of Shabbat.
However, he told The Times of Israel he did not know which rabbi had given the dispensation.
In October, Kushner spent part of a Shabbat huddled with his father-in-law and other advisers amid the fallout from a scandal in which Trump was heard making lewd comments about women, according to The New York Times.
Ivanka Trump, who converted to Judaism before her marriage to Kushner in 2009, described her family’s Shabbat observance in her new book “Women Who Work.”
“From sundown Friday to Saturday night, my family and I observe the Shabbat,” she wrote. “During this time, we disconnect completely — no emails, no TV, no phone calls, no Internet. We enjoy uninterrupted time together and it’s wonderful.
“It’s enormously important to unplug and devote that time to each other,” she wrote. “We enjoy long meals together, we read, we take walks in the city, we nap, and just hang out.”