Rudy Giuliani delivers Trump message to Netanyahu in Israel


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rudy Giuliani delivered a message from President Donald Trump to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The former New York mayor, a top informal adviser to Trump, “delivered a personal message ahead of the expected meeting between the leaders next month in Washington,” said the alert sent Thursday by the Prime Minister’s Office to reporters.

The alert did not detail the message.

Giuliani arrived in Israel early this week for his law firm, Greenberg Trauring. Appearing Monday on “Fox and Friends,” he said he could “give the general message, which is ‘I like you very much and we’re very good friends.'”

In their readouts of the phone conversation last weekend in which Trump invited Netanyahu to the White House, the Prime Minister’s Office and the White House said they discussed Iran and enhancing security cooperation.

Both Trump and Netanyahu opposed the Iran sanctions relief for nuclear rollback deal reached in 2014 between six major powers, led by the Obama administration, and Iran. Netanyahu wants the deal undone, but it’s not yet clear if Trump is ready to abandon it, despite his reservations.

Netanyahu also announced a major settlement expansion this week, as well as new building in eastern Jerusalem. Such announcements triggered tensions with the Obama administration. The Trump administration has yet to pronounce, in part because its diplomatic apparatus is not yet fully in place.

Another issue likely to be discussed is Trump’s campaign pledge to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Since Trump assumed office last week, members of Trump’s staff have said the administration has yet to decide when, or apparently whether, the move will take place.

Separately, the Prime Minister’s Office also announced that Sara Netanyahu congratulated the new U.S. first lady, Melania Trump, in a phone call Wednesday and discussed their forthcoming meeting.

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