(September 8, 2019 / JNS) When U.S. President Donald Trump’s Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt announced his resignation last week, it came as quite a shock.
The move comes at a critical time. Israeli elections are looming, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is about to announce the Trump administration’s Mideast peace plan and talk of another Gaza invasion is constant.
No one worked harder than Jason to try to accomplish a “mission impossible.” For this alone, he deserves tremendous credit; he did it with great dignity and respect.
It is very hard dealing with Israel’s neighbors, who slam the door in your face when you’re actually trying to help them. Abba Eban was right on the mark when he said “the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”
As an Orthodox Jew and descendant of Holocaust survivors, Jason was perhaps in a better position than any of the negotiators that came before him, including Dennis Ross, to make a peace deal. If he failed, it was not for lack of trying. He had put together many deals for President Trump as his executive vice president and chief legal officer prior to 2016.
I met Jason several times before the election, and always came away impressed with his integrity and honesty. He gave me a pass to the Trump Election Night Hilton Extravaganza, a night I will always remember and be grateful for. He always invited me down to D.C. for events. And it wasn’t just me; Greenblatt made everyone feel welcome.
He made a point of attending, together with his family, an event I held in 2018 at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem featuring Mike Huckabee.
He was and will always be one of the closest friends of the Trump family, and especially of Jared and Ivanka Trump.
As Trump’s Mideast envoy, Jason developed a great relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He was instrumental in moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and crucial to all aspects of President Trump’s achievements regarding Israel and the Jewish people, including but not limited to the withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal; recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights; the closure of the PLO Consulate in Washington, D.C.; the Taylor Force Act; the halting of funds to UNRWA; the retrieval of Zachary Baumel’s remains from Syria after 30 years; the pardoning of Shalom Rubashkin; the release of Isam Akkel, a Palestinian American jailed by the P.A. for selling property to Jews; and so much more.
I’ll leave it to the historians to fill out the long list of historic accomplishments Jason had a hand in.
The Jewish people can never thank Jason enough for all he has done. I would like to personally thank him for changing the narrative in the Middle East and for making the Orthodox community an entity to be reckoned with and appropriately honored. Like all the greats, Jason is going out on top.
Dr. Joseph Frager is 1st Vice President of the National Council of Young Israel.
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