'Pence is a true friend of Israel, the Knesset welcomes him'

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein welcomes Vice President Pence ahead of much-anticipated Knesset address.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein
Arutz Sheva

The Speaker of the Knesset Yoel “Yuli” Edelstein (Likud) welcomed Vice President Mike Pence to Israel in a video message Sunday evening, hailing the Vice President as a “true friend” of the Jewish state.

“I am truly honored to welcome tomorrow to the Knesset a true friend of the State of Israel, the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence and his wife Karen,” said Edelstein.

“I am absolutely sure that his speech before the plenary session will be very meaningful to the future relations between our countries, and to the future of this area in general. Welcome to Israel, welcome to Jerusalem, welcome to the Knesset, Mr. Vice President.”

The message was released as Air Force Two touched down at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, following Pence’s visits to Egypt and Jordan.

On Saturday, the Vice President met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, before continuing his Mideast tour this weekend with a stop in Jordan, where he met with King Abdullah II.

Pence is scheduled to address the Knesset on Monday, following a formal welcoming ceremony at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. The address is the first at the Knesset by a senior US official since then-President George W. Bush’s 2008 speech marking the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel.

The Vice President, who was originally slated to visit Israel on December 18th, had planned to meet with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Following President Donald Trump’s December 6th declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, however, the PA announced that Pence, as a senior figure in the Trump administration, was persona non-grata in the PA.

In addition, members of the predominantly Arab Joint List announced that they would boycott Pence's addressed to the Knesset.