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Large US Delegation to Attend Jerusalem Embassy Opening

04-23-2018

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will reportedly lead a 250-strong VIP delegation from the United States, including some 40 lawmakers, to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new American embassy in Jerusalem next month, according to Israel's Channel 10 News and The Times of Israel

Mnuchin will be accompanied by President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, the president's daughter Ivanka Trump, Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsay Graham, White House Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, as well as the heads of  Jewish and pro-Israel Christian organizations.

Channel 10 said there has been no official confirmation from the White House, the Treasury Department or U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

An Israeli official told The Times of Israel, "Initially, the interim embassy (in the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem) will contain office space for (U.S. Ambassador) Friedman and a small staff. By the end of next year, we will complete the construction of additional office space in the Arnona compound that will provide the ambassador and his team with expanded interim capacity. Most embassy staff will continue to live and work in Tel Aviv during this period until a new embassy is built in Jerusalem. We expect the process of site selection, design, planning and permitting, and construction of a permanent embassy to take additional years to complete."

President Trump, who formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital last year,  has decided against attending the dedication, according to some news reports.  

Although when asked about it during a White House meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump responded, "I may. I may. We're looking at coming."

"If I can, I will," the president said. 

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