US Vice President Mike Pence and Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog meet in Washington, March 2018.
(photo credit: COURTESY OF THE OFFICE OF THE OPPOSITION LEADER)
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog thanked Vice President Mike Pence on Monday for his role in encouraging President Donald Trump to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, in a meeting at Pence’s office in Washington, calling the decision historic and moral.
Pence invited Herzog after they did not meet when Pence came to the Knesset on January 22. But the vice president did not invite Avi Gabbay, who replaced fellow Zionist Union member Herzog as party chairman, even though he was also in Washington for the AIPAC Policy Conference and he, too, was snubbed by Pence when he was in Jerusalem.
Herzog’s associates said the invitation was personal to him.
The snub was seen as more bad news for Gabbay, whose Zionist Union fell to 12 Knesset seats in a Channel 10 poll broadcast on Sunday – half of what the party won in 2015 under Herzog. Herzog thanked Pence for trying to encourage the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table and restart the peace process.
“Just as President Trump kept his promise to move the embassy, we trust he will present a diplomatic plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as soon as possible,” Herzog said. “Israel will soon celebrate its 70th birthday, and resolving the conflict could guarantee Israel another 70 year of independence and bring about historic justice for both peoples.”
Herzog and Pence also spoke about Iran, Syria and Lebanon. Herzog said having an Iranian presence on Israel’s border in Syria was unacceptable.
Pence also met on Monday with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who also expressed gratitude for the embassy move set for May and the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Middle East negotiator Jason Greenblatt also participated in the meeting with Barkat.