Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who is currently visiting the U.S., made a special, and secret trip to Chicago recently, to meet with the city’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in an attempt to diffuse tensions between Israel and the United States, which have risen in recent weeks due to different stances on dealing with Iran’s nuclear program.
According to a report in the Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, it’s not clear whether Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was aware of the meeting before it took place.
Before becoming the Mayor of Chicago, Emanuel was President Obama’s Chief of Staff and is still considered to be close to the president.
A spokesperson for Barak could not immediately be reached for comment.
The report from Yedioth cites Israeli officials who “postulate” that Barak is trying to “present himself as the sensible counterweight to Netanyahu in order to bolster his own ties with the White House at the expense of the prime minister’s relations with President Barack Obama.”
Recent tensions between Barak and Netanyahu may have led to the meeting, according to Thursday’s report, as the Israeli defense minister attempts to “send pacifying messages” to the United States.