Report: Trump's adviser on Israel visits Jerusalem
David Friedman, Donald Trump's adviser of Israel affairs, visited Jerusalem this week and met with senior officials from the Prime Minister's Office, Haaretz reported Tuesday.
A senior official in Jerusalem was quoted by the newspaper as having said that parallel to Friedman's visit in Israel, one of Netanyahu's advisers went to the United States for meetings with advisers of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Friedman, a 57-year-old American Jew, has worked with Trump for 15 years, during which he served as his lawyer.
Friedman specializes in real estate and bankruptcy, and represented the tycoon in legal battles over Trump's Atlantic City casinos. A few months ago, during the election campaign, Trump declared that Friedman, together with the legal adviser of the Trump concern, Jason Greenblatt, would serve as his advisers for Israel affairs.
A senior official in Jerusalem, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the diplomatic sensitivity, that several months ago Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu set a clear policy by which Israel would maintain absolute balance in its contacts with representatives of the two presidential nominees.
Netanyahu himself recently made that clear, saying at a press conference with diplomatic correspondents earlier this month that Israel would remain neutral in the U.S. presidential election campaign and avoid any intervention on behalf of any candidate.
"We are presenting both candidates with our positions but are not interfering," he stressed.
"The prime minister's directive was clear – if we meet with one side we have to meet in parallel with the other side," said the senior Israeli official, according to Haaretz. "We track every few meetings to ensure there is no advantage to one side,"added the official.
The senior official said that when Friedman sought a meeting with Netanyahu's advisers during his visit to Israel, he was given an immediate positive response. However, in parallel the PMO asked the Hillary Clinton campaign that same day to meet with her advisers.
According to the senior official, one of Netanyahu's advisers left a few days ago for the United States to meet with the Democratic nominee's advisers while the meetings with Trump's adviser go on in Israel.
The senior Israeli official remarked that Friedman's meeting in the PMO dealt with a diplomatic-security briefing, during which Israel's positions on various issues were detailed.
Friedman is not involved directly in the election campaign, but he is very close to the Republican candidate and has direct access to him, noted Haaretz.
He takes part mainly in issues related to Israel and the Middle East, and he was one of the people who worked with Trump on his speech at the AIPAC conference in Washington earlier this year.
In an interview he gave to Haaretz in late June, Friedman predicted that if Trump would win the presidential election, he could support annexation of parts of Judea and Samaria to Israel.
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