United States Vice President Mike Pence landed in Israel on Sunday evening with his wife Karen, beginning an intensive three-day visit that included meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, as well as visiting Yad Vashem, the Western Wall and speaking at the Knesset.
On Monday, Pence became the first US Vice-President to address the Knesset’s plenary and spoke to a packed room, winning standing ovations.
In his speech Pence stated: “We stand with Israel, because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny...The people of the US have always held a special affection and admiration for the People of the Book.”During the speech Arab-Israeli MK’s from the United Arab List held up posters with images of the Al Aqsa mosque and the slogan “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine”, they were quickly escorted out of the hall by the Knesset ushers.
While standing outside the hall, MK Jamal Zahalka [Balad] was verbally assaulted by Likud MK Oren Hazan, who called him a terrorist and said “All of you should leave for Gaza.” Pence himself called Palestinian leaders to return to the negotiation table as “peace will come only through negotiations”. Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank went on general strike during the vice presidential visit in protest of the recent US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move which lead to great anger across the Arab and Muslim world.
On Tuesday, the Vice President met President Reuven Rivlin, who said the Vice President is “a dear friend of the Jewish people and the State of Israel” and called him a mensch, a Yiddish word meaning a person of integrity.
The Vice President paid a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and laid a wreath at the Yizkor memorial hall.
He also visited the Western Wall for a private prayer in the company of Kotel Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch. US President Donald Trump also paid a visit to the Western Wall when he visited Israel.
The Vice President and his wife Karen departed from Israel on Tuesday evening.