Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, July 25, 2017..
(photo credit: Courtesy)
US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin is visiting Israel Thursday in his first visit since taking office. Mnuchin landed Wednesday in Saudi Arabia for a round of meetings with Middle Eastern ministers of finance. Following meetings in Jerusalem on Thursday and Friday, Mnuchin will fly to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. In Israel, he will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon, and will tour Yad Vashem, among other things.
The office of secretary of the treasury is very important for Israel, because his or her instructions have always guided the US and its sanctions regime. A number of anti-terrorism laws authorize the secretary of the treasury to sign orders and declare that financial institutions, commercial companies, and even individuals are barred from entering the US and/or doing business with US companies.
The US Treasury Department's announcement stated that Mnuchin's visit was a continuation of President Trump's first visit to Israel
last May, after Trump announced the founding of a guidance center for the financing of terrorism. Mnuchin will be accompanied by Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker and senior Treasury Department staff specializing in financing of terrorism.
Mnuchin was appointed to his position at the beginning of Trump's term, following a long career in the private sector. He worked for 17 years at Goldman Sachs and venture capital funds, and was among the owners of mortgage company IndyMac, which he acquired when the subprime mortgage market collapsed in 2007. Mnuchin is one of the wealthiest members of Trump's cabinet. Trump's cabinet appointments were heavily criticized, after he promised in his campaign to represent economically disadvantaged groups. Mnuchin grew up in a Jewish home.
Mandelker, a lawyer, worked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and then as a legal adviser for the New York general prosecutor, where she was responsible for security and counter-terrorism. She was later a legal adviser in the Department of Homeland Security. She is very experienced in financing for terrorism and dealing with it.