White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting in Jerusalem on Wednesday, May 26
Text size

 

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and his family toured the Old City of Jerusalem on Thursday for a celebratory tour to mark his son's bar mitzvah.

The family, surrounded by heavy security, was met during the visit by a crowd of angry far-rightists who accused him of being an "anti-Semite" and "hating Israel". Police forces were on hand to dispel the demonstrators and to arrest their leaders, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Maezel.

While news of Emanuel's visit to Israel has buzzed over the last week, it was unclear whether President Barack Obama's top adviser would be able to receive the necessary security to hold the traditional celebration at the Western Wall.

Emmanuel arrived in Israel last weekend for a family visit to mark the religious ceremony which symbolizes a Jewish boy's passage to manhood at the age of 13.

Although the visit has been defined as "private," Emmanuel met Wednesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Emmanuel, said to be the model for the Josh Lyman character in the successful "West Wing" television series, is believed by many in Israel to be the architect of President Obama's tougher stance toward Israel.