Mike Pence sought help from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on his Knesset speech

"He considered it a great tribute to the Jewish people that someone like Vice President Pence would turn to a Jewish source for guidance on such matters.”

By MARCY OSTER/JTA
January 25, 2018 15:44
1 minute read.
Mike Pence sought help from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on his Knesset speech

US Vice President Mike Pence addresses the Knesset, Israeli Parliament, in Jerusalem January 22, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/ARIEL SCHALIT/POOL)

 
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Former British chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks met with US Vice President Mike Pence to help him frame religious and historical elements of his speech before Israel’s Knesset.

Sacks and Pence met in New York for 90 minutes prior to Pence’s departure for a two-day visit to Israel, part of trip that also included Egypt and Jordan, the Guardian reported.

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Sacks’a spokesman Dan Sacker confirmed to the newspaper the meeting, which he called “positive and productive.”

Pence sought Sacks’s guidance on the sections of the speech which dealt with the historical connection between the Jews and Israel. He was not paid for the consultation.

The meeting “centered around how best to frame elements of the speech – in particular the biblical and historical connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel, and the American and Jewish stories,” Sacker said in a statement. US Vice President Mike Pence Delivers a speech at the Israeli Parliament (YouTube US Embassy in Israel)

“It was these, and only these, elements of the speech that Rabbi Sacks assisted with. He considered it a great tribute to the Jewish people that someone like Vice President Pence would turn to a Jewish source for guidance on such matters.”

Pence has been accused of shaping his political views on Israel through the lens of his Evangelical Christian outlook.

His Knesset speech earlier this week included reciting or referring to passages from the Bible and alluded to biblical history, as well as highlighting the Jewish people’s connection to Israel.

Sacks served as Britain’s chief rabbi for 22 years until 2013 and now holds the title emeritus chief rabbi. He was named a life peer, giving him the title of Lord, in 2009.

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