White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has arrived quietly in Israel for a ”private visit” without letting protesters know when and where his son’s Bar Mitzvah will take place. Government spokesmen did not reply to questions from Israel National News concerning whether Emanuel will meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.
Emanuel said several weeks ago he would celebrate his son’s Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall (Kotel), but Israeli activists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir, calling Emanuel a “traitor,” vowed they would protest his visit. “We will make sure to receive you as you deserve to be received ... with catcalls and disgust," they stated.
According to ABC News, the activists are offering to take 13-year-old Zach Emanuel "on a day of fun without his father" in order to "teach him a few things about the Jewish People's heritage."
If Emanuel does visit the Western Wall, it could complicate matters for President Obama, who also visited the holy site during his presidential campaign. Since taking office, President Obama has accepted virtually all of the Palestinian Authority demands that Israel surrender “settlements” in parts of the capital that were restored to the Jewish State in the Six-Day War in 1967. The Western Wall and the Old City were occupied by Jordan, in violation of the 1948 United Nations Partition Plan, until 1967.
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office several months ago denied a report that he termed Emanuel a self-hating Jew. Emanuel, whose father fought for the Underground against Britain when he lived in pre-State Israel, has largely been considered responsible for guiding U.S. President Barack Obama’s hard stance against Israel.
Jews in the United States and Israel welcomed his appointment as President Obama’s Chief of Staff after the 2008 election and considered Emanuel to be ”our man” in the White House. However, it was quickly discovered that he was the person who choreographed the handshake between Yasser Arafat and former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin on the White House lawn during the Clinton administration and that his views were far from that of Israeli nationalists.
Emanuel also has been highly critical of Israel for promoting a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria and is known for a tendency to use unprintable expletives when crossed on this and other issues.