'Israel, America's best days are yet to come'

Watch: Pence and Netanyahu hold joint press conference

David Rosenberg, | updated: 20:44

Binyamin Netanyahu meets with Mike Pence
Binyamin Netanyahu meets with Mike Pence
Alex Kolomoisky/Flash90

Vice President Mike Pence and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held a joint press conference in Jerusalem Monday, following a meeting between the two leaders at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Netanyahu, who is scheduled to host Mike and Karen Pence for dinner after the press conference, praised Pence as a long-time ally of the Jewish state, saying that he identified as a “true friend” of Israel since his first meeting with him, during Pence’s tenure as a member of the House of Representatives.

"We've known each other for a good many years, and from the day I met you I knew you were a true friend. I remember vividly one day in 2009, when I came to meet the congressional leadership in Washington, and Mike, you spoke up with such clarity and such conviction in support of the direction I was leading Israel. I will never forget that."

The Israeli premier then expressed his thanks to the Trump administration for the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“I want to express once again, Israel’s appreciation to President Trump and to you, for the historic decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as our capital. I also want to commend you for your magnificent speech in the Knesset today.”

Pence, in turn, reaffirmed President Donald Trump’s December 6th declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and expressed President Trump’s thanks for Netanyahu’s “commitment” to the US-Israel relationship.

“It is an honor for me to stand before you today in Jerusalem, the capital of the state of Israel,” said Pence.

“The president asked me to give you not only his greeting, but also his thanks...for your stirring words before the Knesset, your stalwart commitment to freedom...and your unbending commitment to the relationship between the United States and Israel.”

"I leave here with confidence that with President Trump in the White House and with your strong leadership here in Israel, that the best days for the United States and our most cherished ally, Israel, are yet to come."

Prime Minister Netanyahu also took the opportunity to laud the Trump administration’s support for Iranian dissidents who have taken to the streets in recent weeks to oppose their government.

"The foremost challenge [in the Middle East] comes from Iran. The tyrants of Tehran have spent billions of dollars spreading murder and mayhem throughout the Middle East to advance their poisonous ideology. I want to salute both President Trump and you, Mr. Vice President, for standing with the people of Iran, when so many in Europe and elsewhere were shamefully silent."