WASHINGTON - The senior leadership of AIPAC used its meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Thursday to present to Israel's elected leader "analysis and assessments" regarding the implications of the Israeli government's decision to freeze its plan to set up an egalitarian prayer space in the Western Wall, a source familiar with the discussion told Haaretz.
AIPAC's delegation did not present to Netanyahu any warnings regarding the decision's implications on the powerful pro-Israel lobby itself, the source told Haaretz, adding that reports to the contrary, which appeared on Israeli media outlets on Thursday night, were false.
"AIPAC did not discuss funding issues" during the meeting, the source said. "Nor was there any indication that AIPAC's support would [decrease] as a result of this decision." The source emphasized that "there was no discussion of the impact on AIPAC internally," and that the organization did not indicate what the Israeli government should do in order to resolve the crisis. Instead, the source stressed, AIPAC's leaders who participated in the meeting "laid out what AIPAC heard from members and from other Jewish groups, and said that the decision had potential to create divisions."
The focus of the meeting, according to this source, "was primarily analysis and assessment on how this affects the pro Israel community." The meeting was not planned in advance, and was scheduled as a result of the harsh reactions in the American Jewish community to the decision.
Netanyahu met with the AIPAC delegation, headed by President Lillian Pinkus. A senior Israeli official said that the visit was not planned in advance and was scheduled on haste due to the crisis between the Israeli government and the Jewish community in the United States. Since Sunday, several leaders in the American Jewish community have said they were going to reconsider their relationship with Israeli government and will even consider stopping donations to Israel.
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