The American official who sniped at his Israeli counterparts that the Western Wall, the holiest place for Jews to pray, is not part of Israel and not Israel’s responsibility is named in a TV report as David Berns, the political counselor at the US Consulate in Jerusalem. A second US official, the consulate’s economic counselor Jonathan Shrier, was also involved in the bitter diplomatic incident, which deteriorated into an angry shouting match, Channel 2 says.
The TV report says that Berns’s job might now be under threat, since the incident embarrassed the Trump administration ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel next week.
After publication of the remarks on Monday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office expressed its shock, sought clarifications from the White House, and said it did not believe the comments reflected Trump’s views.
Shortly afterwards, the White House told The Times of Israel that “The comments about the Western Wall were not authorized communication and they do not represent the position of the United States and certainly not of the president.”