Jared Kushner meets Benny Gantz for the first time in Israel
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner met Benny Gantz, the leader of the Blue and White party, for the first time on Monday in Jerusalem.
Why it matters: This was the first meeting between Kushner and Gantz, who has 23 days to form a government. It shows that the Trump administration is adapting to the new political reality in Israel.
- Throughout President Trump's tenure, his administration has been closely aligned with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — and had little to no contact with Netanyahu's political opponents.
The state of play: Kushner brought U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, deputy assistant to the president Avi Berkowitz, and the State Department’s Iran envoy Brian Hook to the meeting.
- Gantz brought along Yair Lapid, his No. 2 who is slated to become Israel's foreign minister if Gantz successfully forms a government.
- After the meeting with Gantz, Kushner had a separate meeting with Netanyahu at the prime minister’s office.
The big picture: Gantz spoke about his meeting with Kushner at the beginning of the Blue and White's meeting at the Knesset earlier today.
- He said the discussion with Kushner revolved around the U.S. peace plan, the situation in the Middle East and Iran.
- Officials in Gantz’s party who were briefed on the content of the meeting said Kushner was careful not to discuss domestic Israeli politics with Gantz. The officials said Kushner stressed he mainly wanted to get to know Gantz and start working with him.