Netanyahu: Ronald Lauder is ‘my biggest challenge to overcome’

“You don’t understand how much influence he has over Trump,” Netanyahu said about the head of WJC, who has been pushing his own agenda for a peace deal with the Palestinians.

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) leader’s meddling in advance of any new Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations has enraged Netanyahu, a new report alleges.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder’s efforts at promoting his own political agenda to the US president have left Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fuming, according to The Jerusalem Post.

“You don’t understand how much influence he has over Trump,” Netanyahu reportedly said. “Out of the people around Trump, he is my biggest challenge to overcome.”

Lauder has enjoyed a close relationship with Trump for decades, and reports indicate he has been influencing the president in favor of advancing a regional peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. As part of these efforts, Lauder prepped Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas before his recent summit in Washington with Trump.

The New York Times reported this past weekend that Lauder is battling fellow billionaire and Trump supporter Sheldon Adelson for the president’s ear regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Adelson is also a strong supporter and friend of Netanyahu.

At The Jerusalem Post conference in New York this week, Lauder informed senior Israeli politicians of his efforts, telling Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Opposition leader Isaac Herzog that Trump “is very, very interested in peace.” Herzog praised the move, telling his Zionist Union party that “Netanyahu will have to choose between our national interests and his own narrow personal interests.”

Other Israeli politicians were not so thrilled with Lauder’s actions. A Likud Knesset member told the Post that Lauder’s activities were harming Israel. “Well-meaning American Jews who want to push peace don’t realize how much damage they are causing,” he said.

Trump has become increasingly vocal regarding his desire to mediate an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. Only four months into the presidency, he has already hosted both Abbas and Netanyahu and will visit Israel on his first trip abroad as president later this month.

By: World Israel News Staff