US President Donald Trump’s special envoy for international relations sought rabbinic counsel in kickstarting peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians during a brief visit to Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Jason Greenblatt arrived in Jerusalem from Amman, where he attended the Arab League summit and met with leaders on behalf of the Trump administration.
In the capital for less than an hour, Greenblatt attended a gathering of ultra-Orthodox Jews celebrating the beginning of the Passover vacation in the International Conference Center.
What a special way to end an important trip: blessing and insight of Rav Edlestein of Ponevezh, a father of the Israeli yeshiva world. pic.twitter.com/XEZBTy17P3
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) March 29, 2017
In a video shared online, Greenblatt can be seen asking an elderly rabbi in Hebrew for advice in tackling “this task,” presumably referring to his efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
וידאו מהמפגש בין הרב לגרינבלאט pic.twitter.com/nkpEA5ThVu
— מיכאל שמש (@shemeshmicha) March 29, 2017
The rabbi responded by saying that a person who intends to do so will have divine assistance.
At the Arab League’s annual summit today, Greenblatt met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the leaders of several Gulf states. In Israel, he did not conduct any official meetings, heading back to DC late Wednesday evening.
The US Embassy in Jordan said in a statement following the meeting that Greenblatt’s meetings with Arab leaders “focused on how tangible progress could be made toward advancing Middle East peace, including a comprehensive agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.
“He reaffirmed President Trump’s personal interest in achieving a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians and his belief that such a peace agreement is not only possible, but would reverberate positively throughout the region and the world,” the embassy said in the statement.
Greenblatt returned to the Middle East earlier this week, after meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas last week in an effort to try and jumpstart peace talks.
In those talks in Jerusalem, Greenblatt reportedly demanded that Israel halt all construction in isolated West Bank settlements and put curbs on new building inside the major settlement blocs, but Netanyahu was said to have rejected the idea. An official in the Israeli prime minister’s office denied that any such terms had been advanced by Greenblatt.