Two prominent Washington events are taking place Tuesday in honor of Israel's 69th Independence Day. On Tuesday evening, the Israeli embassy is hosting a large gala reception at the Andrew W. Mellon auditorium in downtown Washington, not far from the White House. Members of Congress, heads of Jewish-American organizations and foreign ambassadors are expected to attend.
The Trump administration will be represented at the embassy event by the President's National Security Adviser, General H.R. McMaster, who will speak about the importance of the U.S.-Israel alliance. This will be one of McMaster's first public appearances since he joined the White House in February. His speech will come just a day before Trump meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the White House, and amid unconfirmed reports that Trump will visit Israel next month.
In 2016 Obama's chief of staff, Denis McDonough spoke at the annual event which in 2015 was attended by then Vice President Joe Biden. Prior to that, in 2014, then National Security Adviser Susan Rice spoke at the event.
Earlier on Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence will host a smaller event in the Executive Office Building near the White House, which will be attended by David Friedman, the newly appointed ambassador to Israel and leaders of Jewish-American organizations, including Mor Klein of the Zionist Organization of America.
This will be the first time under the Trump administration that such a meeting takes place. The event, which was first reported last week by Jewish Insider, will be held at the Indian Treaty Room, which was also where a number of White House staffers held an improvised Seder meal last month.
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