WASHINGTON---Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited Wednesday to the White House by Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in Jerusalem. Netanyahu arrives in June. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas will also soon be meeting with Obama.
"The President looks forward to a visit from President Abbas in the near future. We're just working out timing," Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman said Wednesday.
In speaking to Netanyahu, Emanuel said, "Mr. Prime Minster, on behalf of the President, you will be in Canada, and he has asked me to extend an invitation to you to come visit him at the White House for a work meeting to discuss both our shared security interests as well as our close cooperation in seeking peace between Israel and its neighbors," Emanuel said.
"And also on a personal matter, on behalf of the Emanuel family, I want to say that this trip has been a wonderful trip for the entire Emanuel family, most importantly for me to show my children, given so much as you know of my childhood was here, to show them the country, expose them to the history in a very intimate way and most importantly the most important thing about Israel, to its people who have been exceptionally warm and genuine in their affection to both all the family in general, but particularly to Zach on his Bar Mitzvah in wishing him a Mazal Tov.
"And so it has been heartfelt and nothing more than a father could wish his son on his Bar Mitzvah the way the Israeli people have treated him - now if we just get him to do his homework that will make me happy," Emanuel said.
Netanyahu replied, "This sounds like an impossible task, but we have shown we can do the impossible.'
Emanuel said, "It's been a great trip. The entire administration, the President, particularly is looking forward to the visit June first. Thank you."
Netanyahu "I gladly accept. I think we have a good invitation, I gladly accept and look forward to the meeting."