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Aide to Rahm Emanuel: Obama pro-Israel
US president-elect starts selecting top gov't officials, but son of Israeli immigrant yet to accept White House chief of staff offer; aide to Emanuel tells Ynet, 'He would not consider role if he wasn't convinced Obama is pro-Israel'

WASHINGTON - Despite reports in US media that Illinois Democratic Rep. Rahm Emanuel has accepted US president-elect Barack Obama's offer to serve as White House chief of staff, a source close to Emanuel told Ynet he has not yet accepted and was still considering the offer due to personal and family reasons.

 

Emanuel is the son of American Jew and Israeli immigrant Dr. Benjamin Emanuel. The source told Ynet on Wednesday, "Emanuel is pro-Israeli, and would not be willing to consider accepting the job unless he was convinced that President-elect Obama is pro-Israel."

 

Michael Kotzin, executive vice president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, said that Emanuel very often attends Israel-related events such as independence day and the yearly parade for Israel.

 

"He brings his young children to the events, and told me that his father used to bring him as a child to Israel-related events. These are events with large crowds, and when Rahm Emanuel attends, he also speaks to the crowd about Israel," Kotzin said.

 

Meanwhile, Obama continues to consult with his advisors about appointments, and starting Thursday morning will receive daily classified intelligence briefings similar to what is given to the president. Vice president-elect Joe Biden will also be taking part in some of the briefings.

 

The most prominent candidate for White House spokesman is Robert Gibbs, who was Obama's communications director in the Senate and in his presidential campaign.

 

CBS reported that Obama would not rush into any decisions regarding his cabinet, and would wait until after Thanksgiving to announce his appointments.

 

Reports in American media also revealed that Obama was considering appointing two Kennedys as part of his cabinet.

 

Politico.com reported that Caroline Kennedy, daughter of assassinated president John Kennedy, was being considered for US ambassador to the United Nations.

 

Robert Kennedy Jr., Caroline's cousin and son of Robert Kennedy Sr. who was also killed, is being considered as environment secretary.

 

Obama is also considering appointing Colin Powell, former secretary of state, as defense secretary or education secretary. In recent years Powell has been focusing on promoting education in the United States and may not wish to return to politics.

 

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