WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Jewish leaders urged Egypt’s president to take the lead in encouraging other Arab nations to make conciliatory gestures to Israel.
Hosni Mubarak is in Washington this week to meet with President Obama and advance plans to revive the peace process.
Mubarak met Monday morning with an array of leaders from Jewish groups who told him that conciliatory measures from Arab nations, including allowing Israeli overflights and expanding business ties, would help Israel make concessions. Arab states and the Palestinians first want Israel to commit to a settlement freeze.
"He said he believes that Israel has to do its share," said one participant who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was off the record. "I hope we delivered the message that, not that we disagree with that, but that the Israeli public needs to see a changing wind blowing in the Arab world that would create a better context for hard decisions."
The meeting also covered expanding ties between Israel and Egypt and presenting a united front against Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program.
Egypt’s role in attempting to broker the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held captive in the Gaza Strip since 2006, was discussed as well.