WASHINGTON (JTA) — Orthodox Union leaders met with top Obama administration officials at the White House.
At Tuesday morning’s meeting, Dennis Ross, special assistant to the president and senior director for the Central Region, told the group — according to someone in the room — that he was not surprised that Iran put forward a proposal for talks, but that the United States is engaging the Iranians to test and push them, and to take away excuses.
Ross added that the United States doesn’t want to be part of a fake process, and that an invitation to dialogue was part of measuring whether Iran really was willing to change its behavior.
Asked about the dispute over settlements in the West Bank, Ross did not concede any error in the administration’s demands for an absolute settlement freeze, but said the "logic was to create an environment to get into negotiations" and that "we will wrap up these discussions and not everyone will get what they want, but all will get something."
The group also discussed domestic policy with senior adviser David Axelrod and discussed the president’s faith-based agenda with Joshua DuBois, the head of the White House Office on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships — including reducing abortions and the importance of fatherhood.
Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett welcomed the group to the White House.