Jared Kushner's school asked students to sign letter praising embassy move

Ciner stressed that signing the letter was "completely voluntary."

By CHRIS SOMMERFELT/ NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
January 18, 2018 15:00
2 minute read.
Jared Kushner at the Saban Forum, December 3, 2017.

Jared Kushner at the Saban Forum, December 3, 2017.. (photo credit: screenshot)

 
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(Tribune News Service) - Jared Kushner's old high school in New Jersey encouraged its students to sign a letter praising President Donald Trump's controversial decision to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and some parents are reportedly outraged.

Rabbi David Sher, a faculty adviser for a student club at the Orthodox Jewish Frisch School in Paramus, N.J., sent out an email to the entire student body on Tuesday asking those who "believe that the President made the right decision" to sign the letter and thank Trump for his "courageous leadership."

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"Just remember to sign your name at the bottom," Sher wrote in the email, which was first reported by Haaretz.

Deadly violence broke out in the Middle East and Trump was internationally rebuked last month after he unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a decision that previous American presidents have refrained from making as they feared that it would escalate conflicts with the Palestinians, who claim east Jerusalem as their capital.

Almost immediately after Sher's email went out, a handful of parents reached out to the religious school's principal, Eli Ciner, to complain.

"These parents don't agree with Trump, so therefore they were not happy about this obviously, which is understandable," Ciner told the New York Daily News over the phone Wednesday afternoon.

Ciner stressed that signing the letter was "completely voluntary."

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"This is what happens in schools that practice democracy," Ciner said.

Ciner also claimed the Haaretz report was misleading since it didn't mention that only five parents complained about Sher's email.

Nonetheless, those five parents fumed to the Israeli outlet that the letter amounted to "sycophancy" and an attempt from school faculty to "normalize" Trump's presidency.

The letter, whose contents were confirmed by Ciner, lauded Trump as a courageous and resilient leader.

"President Trump, you have displayed leadership and strength among the nations by formally recognizing Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the State of Israel," the letter read. "We appreciate your commitment to follow the wishes of the American people and your faithful service as our nation's leader. We are grateful for your unwavering support of Israel, America's greatest ally."

Trump's embassy decision was praised by members of the Israeli nationalist right, but criticized by scores of American politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, attended Frisch in the late 1990s and was hired as a senior White House adviser to his father-in-law on a number of sensitive issues, including peace in the Middle East, even though he had no previous geopolitical experience.

Frisch, which is located about 20 miles from downtown Manhattan, brandishes itself as a Zionist school. Other notable alumni include Trump's Middle East adviser Jason Greenblatt, who held a lecture there last month.

(c)2018 New York Daily News. Distributed by Tribune News Service.

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