Binyamin Netanyahu Meets with Jewish Community Leaders

While Pelavin agreed that the Israeli government needs to make the final call, he said concerned Jews shouldn't be silent. "Everyone's happy when they find themselves in agreement with the US administration and the Israeli government," he said. But when that's not the case "we have a responsibility to our own ideals and our understanding of what's best for America and to advance the peace process to speak up ... It's sometimes going to put us on the other side, disagreeing with the prime minister and his government."

Either way, the dialogue is one well known to Netanyahu, who served as prime minister in the 1990s and is familiar with the dynamics of US Jewish organizations. Still, those who participated in the meeting said it was positive and helpful, and that it was important to get a sense of where the Israeli leader was coming from as he begins to forge a new relationship with the White House and to renew his relationship with American Jews.

Gutow said that the administrations were still in the initial phases of getting to know one another, comparing it to "dating before figuring out who you want to go out with." When it comes to the Jewish community and its first Washington meeting with Netanyahu since his election, he added, "It seems like a relatively healthy relationship. The relationship in that meeting was okay."

Hilary Krieger is the Washington bureau chief for The Jerusalem Post, Israel's English-language daily newspaper. She spent five years in Israel covering Jerusalem, social issues, diplomacy and world Jewry before moving to Washington. While there, she also served as the Israel correspondent for the public radio program Marketplace. Hilary frequently appears on radio and TV to offer analysis on Israel, the wider Middle East, and the American Jewish community.

1/1/2000 5:00:00 AM