VP Pence:
'Trump's J'lem declaration proof of our support for Israel'

VP Pence pledges to withdraw from Iran nuclear deal if agreement not fixed, says US-Israel alliance has never been stronger.

David Rosenberg, | updated: 11:57

Mike Pence meets with Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem
Mike Pence meets with Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem
REUTERS

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin hosted Vice President Mike Pence at the president’s residence in Jerusalem Tuesday, lauding the American leader as a ‘mentsch’, while praising the Trump administration for its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to confront Iran over its nuclear ambitions and aggressive behavior across the Middle East.

"We have only one word to describe you: You are a 'mentsch',” said Rivlin.

“In America they all probably know what 'mentsch' means, but for all those people in Israel who don't know... in Yiddish, a 'mentsch' is a real human being. We are very proud to have you with us."

"We are so very proud, as Jerusalemites, about the decision of President Trump about recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. You have to know, my tutor, former Prime Minister Menachem Begin said, 'The obvious should be said from time to time... and the obvious was said [by President Trump]. And we appreciate that very much, and we see it as a real gift for the 70th anniversary of the [establishment of the] State of Israel."

Speaking for about four minutes at the president’s residence, Pence said he was ‘honored’ to be the first Vice President of the United States to speak before the Israeli legislature, and called President Trump’s December 6th declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital the most ‘tangible sign’ of America’s commitment to Israel.

"It was my great honor yesterday to be afforded the opportunity to be the first Vice President of the United States to address the Knesset,” said Pence.

"President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital we hope is the clearest sign yet of the unwavering commitment of the United States of America to Israel.”

As I announced yesterday... President Trump has directed our State Department, working with Ambassador Friedman, to complete the transition of moving our embassy here to Jerusalem by the end of next year. And we look forward to that as a tangible sign of our enduring commitment and alliance to the State of Israel and to the people of this great nation."

Pence further vowed to deepen the bond between Israel and the US, and noted the strong cultural, economic, and security ties between the two nations.

"The bond between us, we believe, has never been stronger, but under President Trump's leadership we are committed to make it stronger still. We have ties through our deep commitment to freedom, our shared values, but also through commerce. More than $45 billion in trade takes place between the United States...and [Israel]. And our security cooperation has never been more robust."

The Vice President added that President Trump’s decision to extend sanctions relief for Iran earlier this month was the last time the president would issue such a waiver.

"We stand shoulder to shoulder with you in the battle against radical Islamic terrorism."

"I pledge to you a continued collaboration and cooperation on behalf of our mutual security. We also stand together against the threat of the leading state sponsor of terror - Iran. And just know that in President Trump's recent decision to announce that the waiver that he would sign on the sanctions under the Iran nuclear deal would be the last one.

“We are sending a signal to our European allies that the time has come for changes in the Iran nuclear deal that will ensure that the sunset provisions in the deal are completely eliminated and that punitive sanctions will be available for many years to come, to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

"If our allies will not join us, President Trump has made it clear that we will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal immediately. But we hope in the months ahead to be able to strengthen it."


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