Obama Chief of Staff to meet Netanyahu and Peres

By Jessica Elgot, May 26, 2010
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Emmanuel is in Israel for his son’s barmitzvah

Emmanuel is in Israel for his son’s barmitzvah

President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will meet Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu today and President Shimon Peres tomorrow.

Emmanuel, who is in Israel for his son Zach’s barmitzvah, is expected to have an informal chat with both men about the current proximity talks with the Palestinians and to discuss general US-Israel bilateral relations.

The barmitzvah ceremony will be held in Jerusalem, but it is not clear if it will take place at the Western Wall.

Holidaying in Eilat with his wife and three children before the ceremony, Mr Emmanuel caused controversy in the Israeli media when he was seen ordering calamari and other seafood at a restaurant, a meal which media said had been paid for by the Israeli Tourism ministry.

A spokesman for the Tourism Ministry denied they had paid for the meal in the non-kosher Boston restaurant. Spokesman Stas Meseznikov said: “Our representative did not eat with them. We bring thousands of people to Israel. Our official events are kosher but when people are on their own we don’t pick at their plates or make sure they eat all their meals at the Knesset cafeteria.”

Far right Israeli activist Baruch Marzel has threatened to disrupt the barmitzvah but admitted he does not know when or where it will be. But he told the Jerusalem Post: “We are getting closer to him.”

Last updated: 4:16pm, May 26 2010