WASHINGTON - While Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, is working on Israel policy at the White House, his family's real estate company is expanding its business connections in Israel, according to a report published on Sunday by the New York Times.
- 'Fire and Fury': Trump's Israel Policies Crafted by Ultra-right Bannon-Adelson-Netanyahu Axis
- New Book on Trump Reveals Plan to Cede Control of West Bank and Gaza to Jordan and Egypt
- Jared Kushner at Saban Forum: Israel Needs Peace With Palestinians Before It Can Form Alliance With Arab States
The report stated that in the spring of 2017, one of Israel's largest financial institutions, insurance giant Menorah Mivtachim, invested $30 million in a real estate project in Maryland controlled by Kushner's family firm. Kushner, according to the report, still has stakes in that specific project despite the fact that he sold some of his business holding upon entering the White House.
"The business dealings don’t appear to violate federal ethics laws," the report stated, adding that "no evidence has emerged that Mr. Kushner was personally involved in brokering the deal" with Menorah. Yet the New York Times warned that "the arrangement could undermine the ability of the United States to be seen as an independent broker in the region," as the Palestinians and other regional players could claim that the Kushner family's business interests in Israel hurt the United States' supposed role as an "honest broker."
A White House spokesperson responded that Trump has "tremendous confidence in the job Jared is doing leading our peace efforts," adding that Kushner "takes the ethics rules very seriously and would never compromise himself or the administration.” Menorah said that the deal with the Kushner family company "was not not done because of the so-called connections of Jared Kushner or Donald Trump."
The report stated that Kushner "resigned as chief executive of Kushner Companies when he joined the White House last January. But he remains the beneficiary of a series of trusts that own stakes in Kushner properties and other investments. Those are worth as much as $761 million, according to government ethics filings, and most likely much more."