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JPost’s NYC Confab Focuses on Trump’s “Deal of the Century” in the Middle East 

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Jason Greenblatt speaks at the 8th annual Jerusalem Post Conference, New York. Photo Credit: YouTube

Edited by: JV Staff

The eighth annual Jerusalem Post New York conference took place at the Marquis Marriott Hotel in Times Square on Sunday with a stellar lineup of leading Israeli and US officials focusing on the Trump peace plan, rising anti-Semitism and the upcoming elections in Israel, according to a JPost report.

Featured at the conference was Jason Greenblatt, assistant to the President & Special Representative for International Negotiations. He was interviewed onstage by the JPost’s editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz. Greenblatt has been one of the prime architects of the Trump “Deal of the Century” which is expected to be released sometime this year. Congressman Eliot Engel (D) of New York was also interviewed by Katz, as was reported by the JPost.

Uri Levin, president and chief executive officer for Israel Discount Bank (IDB) of New York, said at the conference that the bank of 50 years ago is not the bank of today, and that IDB sees its role as “fostering the technology and innovation in the banking industry,” which will help Israeli companies that are interested in entering the US marketplace. “We see this as one of our most important roles,” he said.

According to the JPost, Greenblatt discussed the timeline to roll out the political component of the peace plan, saying that it might be postponed until a new government in Israel is formed, around November 6. He added that after the late delay in rolling out the plan due to Israel’s April election, the Trump administration would not lay out in advance a specific timeline.

“Now we are focusing on the Bahrain workshop. Saeb Erekat and others are distorting our message. They’re saying essentially that the Bahrain conference is about buying the Palestinians off. Absolutely not true,” said Greenblatt.

“The Bahrain summit is aimed to show what could happen to the Palestinian economy if there’s a peace agreement,” he continued. “We understand completely that there is no economic vision that’ll work without a peace agreement. But we also want to make the point that there will be no peace agreement that works without true economic vision. We’re trying to break the cycle of aid and dependency and create an economy. They work hand in hand.”

The JPost reported that he refused to share specific details from the plan and explained that: “We hold something very delicate in our hands. If we keep a tight lid on it, we increase chances of success.”

Greenblatt addressed the disengagement between the Trump administration and the Palestinians, explaining that there are two kinds of Palestinians, according to the JPost report. The first, he said, is the Palestinian leadership, “which we engaged with throughout 2017 – and we pretty much went as far as we were able to go with them by the time of the Jerusalem announcement.

Five ministers in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lame duck government – Israel Katz, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Transportation, Minister of Intelligence & Member of the Security Cabinet, Tzachi Hanegbi, Minister for Regional Cooperation, Ofir Akunis, Minister of Science and Technology, Gilad Erdan, Minister of Public Security and Minister of Strategic Affairs and Tzipi Hotovely spoke about Israel’s challenges and looking ahead at the September elections, according to the JPost report.

Former justice minister Ayelet Shaked also appeared at the day-long conference in an interview with Channel 12’s Dana Weiss. Former Jerusalem mayor and now Likud MK Nir Barkat was interviewed on stage by Jerusalem Report editor Steve Linde.

Other speakers included Mosab Hassan Yousef, political activist, speaker and author of the book ‘Son of Hamas’, Raymond Kelly, former commissioner of the NYPD, Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress and former US Ambassador to Austria, Rafi Beyar, MD, President of the International Friends Organizations, Rambam Healthcare Campus, Danny Danon, the Permanent Representative to the United Nations, former Israeli Prime Minister Edud Olmert, from 2006 to 2009, and Caroline B. Glick, Senior Contributor Editor of the Jerusalem Post.

Also participating in the conference were Congressman Eliot Engel of New York, Shmulik Zysman, founder and managing director of Zag/Sullivan International Law Firm, Bruce Buck, Chelsea FC Chairman, Professor Ofer Merin, Director General of Shaare Tzedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, Avi Ganon, Director General & CEO of World ORT, Dario Worthein, Chair of the World ORT Board of Trustees, Oded Hareven, Partner & Managing Director of ZAG/Sullivan International Law Firm, Prof Yaffa Zilbershats, Chair of the Planning & Budgeting Committee Council for Higher Education, Uri Levin, President & CEO of Israel Discount Bank, Dr. Yechiel M. Leiter, Senior Fellow of the Kohelet Policy Forum, and Prof Efraim Chalamish, Law & Business Professor & JPost Op-Ed contributor.

Other speakers included: Daniel Atar, Chairman of KKL, Dani Dayan, Consul General of Israel in New York, Inon Elroy, Israel’s Economic Minister to North America, Dana Weiss, Chief Political Analyst at Channel 12 News and Host of “Saturday Night with Dana Weiss,” Dr. Mike Evans, Founder of Friends of Zion Heritage Center, Yoram Elgrabli, VP of North & Central America El Al Airlines, Doron Horowitz, Senior National Security Advisor of the Secure Committee Network Defense Minister, Brooke Goldstein, Founder & Executive Director of the Lawfare Project, Judah Samet, businessman, speaker and Holocaust survivor, Yaakov Katz, Editor in Chief of the Jerusalem Post, and Steve Linde, Jerusalem report editor.

Yoram Elgrabli, the vice president of the North & Central American divisions of El Al airlines. El Al Airlines is the official state airline of the Jewish state.

According to the JPost report on the conference, Uri Levin, president and chief executive officer for Israel Discount Bank (IDB) of New York, said at the conference that the bank of 50 years ago is not the bank of today, and that IDB sees its role as “fostering the technology and innovation in the banking industry,” which will help Israeli companies that are interested in entering the US marketplace. “We see this as one of our most important roles,” he said. As does the government of Israel.

Founded in 1935 by the late Mr. Leon Recanati, IDB Ltd. is one of the three largest commercial banks in Israel and one of the 300 largest banks in the world. IDB Ltd. and its subsidiaries have a network of branches and representative offices in Israel and abroad, with several thousand employees. IDB Ltd. also has an extensive international network of correspondent banks.

IDB Ltd. began its operations in New York City in 1949, when it established a representative office. At that time there were only a few employees and limited contact with the public. In 1962, IDB Ltd. became one of the first foreign banks to open a branch in New York when the New York State banking law was changed to allow foreign banks to operate branches here.

In 1967, Israel Discount Bank Ltd. acquired the Hias Immigrant Bank and changed the name to IDB Trust Company, an FDIC-insured institution. Ultimately, in 1980, the branch’s assets were transferred to the renamed, wholly-owned IDB Ltd. subsidiary, Israel Discount Bank of New York (“IDBNY”). IDBNY also took over a major portion of the western hemisphere banking operations of its Tel-Aviv parent.

Subsequently, the bank took on more contemporary nomenclature with the registered service mark “IDB Bank.” In March 2000, IDB Bank became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Discount Bancorp, Inc., a Delaware holding company it formed to hold its shares.

IDB Bank provides domestic and international, personal and commercial banking services to its U.S. and foreign clientele through its main office in Manhattan, branches in Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Short Hills, NJ, in addition to branches in Beverly Hills and Downtown Los Angeles, California; and Aventura, Florida. The Bank also maintains an International Banking Facility at its main office; and representative offices in Chile, Israel, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay. IDB Capital Corp.* is the Bank’s broker-dealer, and a wholly owned subsidiary of IDB Bank.

The Bank specializes in U.S. Private Banking, International Private Banking, Middle Market Lending, Asset Based Lending, Commercial Real Estate Lending, Trademark Financing, Factoring, Trade and Finance (Import, Export and Standby Letters of Credit, Documentary Collections, Bankers’ Acceptances)

IDB Bank’s broad range of banking services include Personal and Business accounts, Cash Management, Checking Accounts, Money Market Savings Accounts, U.S. Dollar and Foreign Currency Time Deposits**, Credit Cards, ATM/Debit Cards (for personal accounts), Safe Deposit Boxes (New York main office only), Online Banking, Money Transfers, Lockbox Facilities, Safekeeping and Custody of Securities, Money Orders and Direct Deposit of Social Security and other recurring payments.

Also representing Israel’s banking industry at the JPost conference was Moti Eliasi, the first vice president of investment services at Bank Hapoalim in New York City.

Bank HaPoalim was established in 1921 by the Histadrut, the Israeli trade union congress (lit. “General Federation of Laborers in the Land of Israel”) and the Zionist Organization.

The bank was owned by the Histadrut until 1983, when it was nationalized following the Bank Stock Crisis. The bank was held by the Israeli government until 1996 when it was sold to a group of investors led by Ted Arison.

The bank has a significant presence in global financial markets. In Israel, it has over 600 ATMs (automated teller machines), 250 bank branches, 7 regional business centers, 22 business branches and industry desks for major corporate customers. The bank’s stock is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

At the end of 2015, the Bank Hapoalim had 11,930 employees worldwide. It is controlled by Arison Holdings, owned by Shari Arison. Arison Holdings owns a total of 20 per cent of the bank.

Subsequent to the JPost conference, the Jewish Voice sought to elicit some commentary about the essence of the conference from a few prominent individuals who participated in forums or delivered addresses on topics relating to their expertise.

One of those contacted by the Jewish Voice was Yoram Elgrabli, the vice president of the North & Central American divisions of El Al airlines. El Al Airlines is the official state airline of the Jewish state.

Mr. Elgrabli was contacted via phone and the Jewish Voice was told by his assistant that he would not be available for comment.

David Ben Hooren, the publisher of the Jewish Voice said, “For many years, the Jewish Voice has repeatedly attempted to create productive business partnerships with El Al Airlines and we keep hitting a brick wall.”

Mr. Ben Hooren said that many years ago he approached Mr. Elgrabli to voice his concerns about the puzzling fact that despite his many efforts to promote and publicize the tremendous strides that El Al has made over the decades that the company seemed to be ignoring him and the Jewish Voice.

“As everyone in New York City and beyond is fully cognizant of, the Jewish Voice is the leading Zionist newspaper around. We have established a stellar reputation of promoting tourism to Israel that targets a very large community of highly affluent individuals. It seems quite odd to me that El Al would refuse our offer to help,” said Mr. Ben Hooren.

He recalled that the fierce resistance that the Jewish Voice met in their requests to work with El Al emanated from Sheryl Stein, the manager of advertising, public relations & social media. Mr. Ben Hooren said that during his discussion with Mr. Elgrabli several years ago he asked, “Why is it that El Al changes CEOs every 3 or 4 years, yet Sheryl Stein has been working in her capacity as the airline’s public relations head for close to 30 years.”

Ben Hooren was told by Mr. Elgrabli that Ms. Stein is no longer employed by El Al Airlines but Ben Hooren was soon to find out otherwise.

“When I met and talked with Mr. Elgrabli at the conference on Sunday, I was of the distinct impression that perhaps El Al’s media trajectory has changed for the better, but quite sadly it hasn’t. I think El Al should reconsider because as history has illustrated for us, we all achieve substantial goals when we create solid and trusting partnerships with our loyal allies,” said Mr. Ben Hooren.

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