Rahm Emanuel Visits Israel to Celebrate Son's Bar Mitzvah

It was unclear whether Obama's top adviser planned to mark the event at the Western Wall.

Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel
AP / Archive

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel arrived in Israel over the weekend, for a private visit during which his son will celebrate his bar mitzvah, 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," Israeli media reported Sunday that Emanuel, the adviser closest to President Barack Obama, was due to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, and Defence Minister Ehud Barak.

The bar mitzvah ceremony will be held later this week in Jerusalem, but it was unclear Sunday whether it would take place at the Western Wall, a remnant of the Biblical Temple which is Judaism's holiest prayer site in use.

Emanuel, 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.