Avi Berkowitz, who serves as White House adviser Jared Kushner’s assistant in the White House, will receive most of the responsibilities of outgoing US Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt.
Greenblatt announced his resignation on Thursday. In a statement, the White House said Greenblatt had originally planned to serve in his role for two years, but stayed on longer as the roll-out of the peace plan was continuously delayed. He will remain in his position until after Israel’s September 17 elections.
Berkowitz, 30, is an Orthodox Jew who assisted Kushner when he served as a businessman, during US President Donald Trump’s election campaign, and later in the White House.
Though he is closer to Kushner, Berkowitz’s official title has been “special assistant” to Trump. He was not officially part of the staff working on the “deal of the century,” but since he served as Kushner’s aide, he is familiar with all the details of the plan, which is expected to be presented after Israel’s elections.
Berkowitz was raised in Long Island’s Jewish community of Lawrence, and speaks Hebrew. During his high school years, he studied in the Far Rockaway yeshiva. He later spent two years in Jerusalem’s Kol Torah yeshiva.
Berkowitz earned a B.A. from a New York University college, and earned an M.A. in law at Harvard. He met Kushner by chance during a Pesach (Passover) vacation both men happened to spend in Arizona.
Berkowitz is expected to replace Greenblatt, though a small portion of Greenblatt’s duties will be transferred to Brian Hook, the US Special Representative for Iran and Senior Policy Adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.