(December 28, 2016 / JNS) President-elect Donald Trump, who frequently takes pride in his track record as a negotiator, this week named one of his campaign advisers on issues related to Israel as the incoming administration’s special representative for international negotiations.
Real estate transactions lawyer Jason Dov Greenblatt, who alongside U.S. ambassador to Israel appointee David Friedman co-chaired the Trump campaign’s Israel Advisory Committee, earned high praise from Trump in the president-elect’s announcement of his White House role.
“He has a history of negotiating substantial, complex transactions on my behalf, as well as the expertise to bring parties together and build consensus on difficult and sensitive topics,” Trump said in a statement on Greenblatt, who has worked for The Trump Organization since 1997. “His talents lend themselves perfectly to the role I have asked him to play, assisting on international negotiations of all types and trade deals around the world.”
Both of Trump’s point men on Israel, Friedman and Greenblatt, have known and advised Trump for close to two decades and are unapologetic, ardent Zionists. Friedman owns a home in Israel, while Greenblatt has visited Israel dozens of times and wrote a book with his children about traveling to Israel as a family.
Greenblatt lives in Teaneck, N.J., and currently serves as The Trump Organization’s executive vice president and chief legal officer. He grew up in the Forest Hills neighborhood of New York City’s Queens borough, and is the son of Hungarian immigrants. Greenblatt is a graduate of the Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy, Yeshiva University and New York University Law School, and spent his gap year between high school and college in Israel at Yeshivat Har Etzion in Judea and Samaria. He is married to psychiatrist Dr. Naomi Greenblatt and has six children.
The Greenblatt family manages the inspireconversation.com website, which encourages teenagers to think more deeply and work to give back to society.
“My philosophy, in both business and in life, is that bringing people together and working to unite, rather than to divide, is the strongest path to success,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “I truly believe that this approach is one that can yield results for the United States in matters all over the world. I look forward to serving on President-elect Trump’s team, and helping to achieve great outcomes for our country.”
Greenblatt had previously lent insight into his approach toward negotiations in an interview that was jointly published last June by The Jewish Link of New Jersey and JNS.org.
“What we (The Trump Organization) do for a living is work out transactions,” Greenblatt said in that interview. “You need negotiating skills, you need to listen to the other side, you have to try to piece together everything to try to address as many issues as you can, with both sides satisfied that a fair and appropriate deal has been struck. Not everyone is happy all the time. I am not diminishing the concept of a peace deal or a U.S.-Israel relationship; they are complicated and there are lots of layers, but people like Donald, who are skilled negotiators, and people on his team who have worked on transactions large and small over the course of their careers, are well suited to these things.”
In the statement on his forthcoming role in the White House, Greenblatt said he is “deeply grateful and humbled by President-elect Trump’s decision to appoint me to represent the United States in international negotiations.”
Elizabeth Kratz is associate publisher and editor of The Jewish Link of New Jersey and The Jewish Link of Bronx, Westchester and Connecticut.