Ivanka's rabbi: I didn't permit them to fly on Shabbat

Rabbi who converted Ivanka Trump denies granting couple permission to fly on Shabbat, calls rumors 'fake news.'

Chana Roberts ,

Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and their children exit Marine One
Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and their children exit Marine One

Kehilat Yeshurun Rabbi Haskel Lookstein said on Sunday that he was not the rabbi who gave Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner permission to fly on Air Force One on Shabbat (Sabbath), calling the rumors "fake news".

Rabbi Lookstein is the rabbi who converted Ivanka in 2009, prior to her marriage to Jared Kushner.

According to Yediot Ahronot, Lookstein told Opposition Leader Yitzhak Herzog (Zionist Union) that he has not been in touch with Ivanka for "several weeks" and the information was false.

Ivanka and Jared flew on Air Force One together with US President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia on Friday, landing after the start of Shabbat on Friday night. However, they did not state which rabbi had given them permission to do so.

Jewish law does not permit traveling on Shabbat except in cases deemed life threatening and Orthodox Jews refrain from flying on Shabbat. In fact, presidential advisor,Jason Greenblatt, an Orthodox Jew, arrived before Shabbat and did not take part in meetings on Saturday.

Ivanka and Jared are Orthodox Jews and generally observe Shabbat. Both serve as unpaid advisers in the White House.

In fact, since a plane is similar to a boat in Jewish law, and since the amount of additional gas Jared and Ivanka's weight would cause the plane to use is minimal, the main issue with the couple's flight is how they would get off the plane and get around after landing. The halakhic (Jewish legal) discussion and decision has to take various factors into account, including the spirit of the Shabbat day and whether there is a safety issue involved.

Given the backlash expected in such an unusual case, it is not surprising the rabbi who granted the permission did not feel comfortable with the couple publicizing his name.