Pence pushes off trip by three days, now set to arrive Wednesday

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December 14, 2017 14:40
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US Vice President Mike Pence is now scheduled to arrive in Israel on Wednesday, three days later than originally planned so that he can be in the US to participate if necessary in Senate votes on tax reform.

Rather than arriving on Sunday, Pence is now expected to fly in from Egypt on Wednesday evening.

He is scheduled to be welcomed Thursday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his office, address the Knesset, and then hold a meeting with Netanyahu in the evening at his residence. On Friday the vice president is expected to meet with President Reuven Rivlin, and visit Yad Vashem, before flying back to Washington.

Pence was originally scheduled to visit the Western Wall on Sunday and partake in Hanukka candle lighting ceremonies there. It is not clear now exactly when he will visit the Wall, but a late night visit on Wednesday is being discussed.

Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem dismissed as baseless speculation that Pence's postponement had anything to do with widespread Palestinian and Muslim criticism over the US decision last week to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. 

Earlier this month, Pence was called upon to cast the tie-breaking vote – which is the vice president's prerogative – on an amendment to US President Donald Trump's tax reform bill, an indication of why he felt it necessary to postpone his trip and be in Washington when final voting on the bill takes place. The Republicans are hoping that the final votes will be held next week.

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