Donald Trump greets his daughter Ivanka and son in law Jared Kushner (R) at his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, November 9, 2016.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON -- While serving as a senior adviser in the White House, Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will work to "broker a Middle East peace deal," the president-elect said over the weekend.
In an interview with the Times of London, Trump said that Kushner, Ivanka Trump's husband, would to take on the task of negotiating peace between Israelis and Palestinians– an appointment Trump has previously floated due to the fact that Kushner "knows the region, knows the people, knows the players," Trump described in a previous interview.
offered no further details on the matter from their interview. But the president-elect, who will be inaugurated as America's 45th president on Friday, has repeatedly discussed his interest in securing a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians– an agreement he has referred to as the deal of all deals.
Kushner has no previous diplomatic experience, but steered Trump's foreign policy throughout his presidential campaign and subsequent presidential transition. He was the primary drafter of Trump's speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which drew positive feedback from the crowd.
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“What we know, he’s a really tough, smart guy, and we hope he will bring new energy to our region,” Israel's defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said of Kushner last month.
As a member of the president's family, Kushner had to retain a law firm to navigate him through potential legal obstacles to working for his father-in-law– specifically, an anti-nepotism law which states that "a public official may not appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement, in or to a civilian position in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control any individual who is a relative of the public official."
But his legal counsel, WilmerHale, concluded last month that precedent was laid for Kushner by Trump's former rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who won a court case in the 1990s in her fight to chair a national task force on health care reform for her husband, then-president Bill Clinton. That case found that existing law bans appointments to agencies and departments, but not within the White House itself.
Kushner and his wife, who converted upon their marriage in 2009, are Orthodox Jews.
"He clearly is someone who has a sense of Jewish identity, and he is someone who has a genuine attachment to Israel and understanding of the importance of the US-Israel relationship," Dennis Ross, a senior Middle East diplomat and veteran of the George H. W. Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations, told The Jerusalem Post.
"People I know who know him describe him as smart, as someone who will clearly learn what he needs to learn and will approach things thoughtfully, carefully, even analytically. So those would all be descriptors that I would hope would be accurate and emblematic of how he'll approach his responsibilities helping the new president."
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