Former Trump foreign policy officials meet Netanyahu, Lapid in Israel — report

Former US president Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend the Abraham Accords signing ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, September 15, 2020. (AP Photo/ Alex Brandon, File)
Former US president Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend the Abraham Accords signing ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, September 15, 2020. (AP Photo/ Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON – Three former US foreign policy officials in Donald Trump’s administration met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, and other public figures in Israel today, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The delegation was made up of Robert O’Brien, who served as Trump’s fourth and final national security adviser, as well as former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates John Rakolta, and former ambassador to Switzerland Ed McMullen, says the source, who requests anonymity, as the trip’s itinerary was not public.

Among the main goals of the trip is to obtain a better understanding of Israel’s complex domestic political situation, according to the source.

The source does not say what was discussed in the meeting, noting that the group was not acting at the Republican presidential hopeful’s request and had no message to deliver to Israeli officials.

But all serve as informal advisers to Trump, and the former US president will likely receive a readout of the meetings, the source adds.

Trump has occasionally criticized Israel over its ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza, and he has faulted Netanyahu for failing to prevent the October 7 massacre that sparked the war. But Trump consistently portrays himself as a more reliable ally to Israel than Democratic President Joe Biden, his rival in the upcoming November 5 election.

The White House declines comment when asked about the meeting and the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office does not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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