Israel Prepares for Trump Visit
News reached the Israeli pubic on Wednesday that US President Donald Trump is planning a visit next month. Although there has been no formal confirmation, media reported the impending arrival on Thursday of a 25-man/women advance team to work out details of the visit for an entourage that is said to include First Daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner. No date has been announced, but there is considerable speculation that it won’t take place until June because it is unlikely that Trump would come to Israel while it celebrates the 50th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem in the 1967 war – a gesture that would be ill-received by the Palestinians. Most presume President Trump will want to address the Knesset, Israel’s parliament; and a side trip to Ramallah for meeting with Palestinian leadership is also likely. Beyond the mandatory stop at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Documentation Center, other places the president chooses to visit will be considered by the advance team. Meanwhile, a report by Bloomberg casts doubt on the future of Jared Kushner as his father-in-law’s designated point man in negotiating peace between Israel and the Arab world. The agency reported Kushner’s business ties to the Israeli Steinmetz family worth more than $200 million, mostly in real estate. In addition, Kushner is a customer of Israel’s largest bank for funding for his deals. Critics have repeatedly expressed concern over ethics issues and conflicts of interest relative to Kushner.