US Vice President Mike Pence will visit Israel from December 17-19, the Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday.
The visit to Israel will be part of a wider regional trip that will also take him to the Palestinian Authority and Egypt. He is expected to address the Knesset, the first senior US official to do so since president George W. Bush in 2008.
Pence, in an interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) on Sunday, said he was “humbled” by the opportunity to speak to the Knesset.
During that interview, Pence said that he will be delivering the “strong message” that “if the world knows nothing else, the world should know this: Under President Donald Trump, America stands with Israel.”
Pence said that as he travels through the area he will also “reaffirm our commitment to peace in the region.”
Trump, Pence said, “has made clear that we want peace.” But, he added, “People should know that President Donald Trump will never compromise the safety and security of the State of Israel in the midst of that process.”
His comments come amid speculation that the Trump administration will present a wide-ranging Middle East peace plan in the near future.
Regarding the diplomatic plan, as well as the decision regarding whether to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, Pence said the president’s decision is “informed by his commitment to the relationship between the United States and Israel and his knowledge that the American people cherish our ally Israel, and always will.”
Pence said that both he and Trump believe the relationship between the American people and the people of Israel is “timeless.”
“Literally before the founding of the country there were Americans who prayed for and dreamed of Israel, returning to its ancient homeland, and through the tragedy and tragic events of World War II and the Holocaust, and through strong American leadership at the UN, Israel was restored to her homeland – as the Old Book says – in a day, in a moment,” he said.
Pence said that one of the issues he will be discussing in Egypt is “the issue of the persecution of Christian and religious minorities throughout the wider Arab world.”