Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed U.S. Senior Presidential Advisor Jared Kushner to Israel and thanked him for the recent normalization deals between Israel, the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
The prime minister also praised President Donald Trump’s still unfulfilled peace plan between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Earlier in the day, Netanyahu and Kushner participated in a tree-planting ceremony at the Grove of Nations in Jerusalem. Eighteen olive trees were planted to honor Jared Kushner and his contributions in the spirit of life and peace. In the Hebrew language, the numerical value 18 holds a special spiritual importance since its letter combination, chai, means life.
On Dec. 22, Kushner is set to lead an American delegation on the first official flight from Israel to Morocco to celebrate the recent normalization agreement between the two countries. Israel’s national security advisor Meir Ben Shabbat will head the Israeli delegation.
During the tree planting ceremony at the Grove of Nations, Netanyahu initially addressed Israel’s decision to enforce strict hotel quarantine for incoming Israelis due to the outbreak of a more infectious corona variant in the UK, Denmark and other countries. Netanyahu admitted that the decision was hard for the concerned families, but necessary to prevent more infectious corona outbreaks in Israel.
Netanyahu then went on to thank Kushner for his contributions to Israel and Middle East peace.
“You have left through the Abraham Accords a mark on our region Jared. I don't think it's a passing mark. I don't think the seasonal rains will wash it away. I think it's here to stay. It's a great thing and something that we truly treasure," he said. “So in planting the Kushner Garden of Peace as a permanent presence in this Grove of Nations we will ensure that future generations will know what your contribution has been."
"I personally want to express my deep affection and my appreciation for the fact that the young teenager who I met many years ago, in fact in your house, has grown to be a man of stature who has helped change the history of our region and the history of Israel. Thank you, Jared."
Looking back at the diplomatic achievements in the Middle East, Kushner recalled that in 2017, President Trump was strongly warned that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would set off “an explosion” in the Middle East.
"Jerusalem was not the cause of the problem. It is the core of the solution," Kushner said, stressing Jerusalem’s significance as a unifying force for peace and religious tolerance.
“While some have used the cause of Jerusalem to divide, Jerusalem proudly remains open and is uniting people of all faiths,” he said.
Kushner also emphasized the dramatic and rapid transformation that the Middle East is undergoing due to the normalization agreements. Despite the pandemic, more than 50,000 Israelis have already visited Dubai. Saudi Arabia is allowing Israeli planes to use its air space and has revised its textbooks to become more tolerant. Bahrain is opening up kosher restaurants and Morocco became the first Arab country to include Jewish history in its official school curriculums.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.