L ast Friday, I smugly texted one of the organizers of the Saban Forum: “lmk when Jared Kushner cancels.” Earlier that day, former national security advisor Michael Flynn had entered a guilty plea to one charge of lying to federal investigators, a charge that could also incriminate Kushner, who was set to appear onstage at the forum just 48 hours later.

Sunday afternoon, a moment before Kushner appeared on the stage, as I found a seat among government ministers, Knesset members, senior think tank intellectuals, and others, I received the following text back: “Did u bring ur hat to eat?”

Generalizations are usually a no-no in journalism, but it’s fair to say that the entire diplomatic corps in Washington and Jerusalem, not to mention journalists and politicians, were eagerly awaiting this dialogue with the president’s son-in-law. It was a rare public appearance for the man charged with sensitive foreign policy negotiations. Even more significant was the timing; Kushner’s appearance took place immediately after Flynn’s guilty charge and interrogation, and shortly before the president’s fraught decision on the US embassy in Israel. If the stakes weren’t high enough, add the juicy fact that Haim Saban, the forum’s founder and emcee, is one of Hillary Clinton’s chief supporters.

But from the minute Kushner opened his mouth, it was evident that he’d come with the express purpose of playing it safe with a capital S.

Saban didn’t raise the subject of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and Kushner didn’t bring it up either. Regarding the Middle East peace plan, Kushner expressed optimism that a peace deal could be reached, quipping that the skeptics have good company among all those who doubted Trump’s ability to get elected. Kushner said that although there is a deep distrust between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, things are different in the public sphere. He said that solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the key to achieving stability and prosperity in the Middle East, adding that the negotiating team includes businessmen, who have no intention of setting tough deadlines, because they know from experience that sometimes a delicate deal needs its own timetable.

On the other hand, Kushner didn’t reveal even a particle of the developing deal, not a sliver of information revealing the slightest idea as to what direction they’ll be taking. This, mind you, is close to a full year after Trump has been in office.

By the time Kushner walked off the stage, everyone in the audience looked at each other incredulously, wondering, “What, that’s it?” For all intents and purposes, the man said nothing.

As a journalist, I was doubly disappointed. This could have been the perfect opportunity to finally get a read on Trump’s senior negotiations advisor, after so many pundits have categorized him in so many different ways. Is he really that “left-wing globalist”? Or perhaps the “right-wing Netanyahu ally”?

Unfortunately, after a half hour of diplomatic-speak, we were none the wiser. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 688)