Jewish group claims ‘bridge-building role’ after meeting in Saudi Arabia

“We try to play a constructive bridge-building role, and I think that happened this past week,” says Malcolm Hoenlein of the visit to Saudi Arabia.

By World Israel News Staff 

“As Arab leaders tell us, Israel drives innovation in the region and Israel has all the things we need, and we offer much to Israel,” says Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, in an interview with Arutz 7. 

It was the latest pronouncement by the umbrella group concerning its talks in Saudi Arabia before arriving in Israel for this week’s annual leadership mission.

“We have not talked much about it,” Hoenlein said of the Saudi talks, “because it’s part of the understanding, and our interest is in building a long-term relationship, and that is based on confidence – that they can talk to us at the highest level of their government, and know that we will treat it with the appropriate confidence. It’s nice to get headlines, but it’s more appropriate to build the relationship.”

The Conference of Presidents has visited many countries over the years, where there is an interest to capitalize on the influence which the U.S. Jewish leaders carry with both the White House in Washington and the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.

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“We do not see ourselves as representatives of Israel, we are an American Jewish community,” Hoenlein asserts.

“We try to play a constructive bridge-building role, and I think that happened this past week. The fact that we had kosher meals for four days, that we had a minyan there, and we heard about the intentions to build and make change,” he told Arutz 7.

“From Morocco to the Persian Gulf,” Hoenlein said, there are “many Muslim countries beyond the Arab countries who are anxious to have relations, who deal with us because it’s easier than to have direct relations with Israel, but they are moving more and more into quiet relationships, and sometimes even open encounters.”

He says that the Conference of Presidents was behind “a Mediterranean initiative 10 years ago that we now see in the Cyprus-Greece-Israel relationship, and many other countries coming to us wanting to be part of this.”