Former U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence and his wife visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Tuesday where they were welcomed by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites, along with Mordechai Eliav, the director of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.
Pence prayed at the Wall and inserted a slip of paper with a personal prayer written on it between the stones, as is the custom. He noted that this was his sixth visit to the Western Wall, a place where he felt a sense of sanctity and awe for the holiness of the site. "Israel must be strong," he said, "and that is what we pray for here."
On Tuesday morning, Pence met with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, and discussed the emerging Iran nuclear deal as well as the situation in Ukraine.
Pence had scathing words for the Biden administration's readiness to sign a deal with Iran. In an interview with Israel Hayom, Pence said, "It's inconceivable that at a time when Putin is committing atrocities in Ukraine, the U.S. administration is negotiating with him on the Iran nuclear issue. The deal that the Biden administration is trying to bring about is dangerous and unacceptable, and there should be no weakening of sanctions due to pressure from Russia at a time like this.
On the subject of Ukraine, Pence was emphatic, insisting that "Putin must be made to pay. We have to focus international opposition to his invasion and keep exerting pressure until Putin's troops withdraw."
Later this week, Pence, known as a staunch supporter of Israel, is expected to travel to Ariel University in Samaria to receive an honorary doctorate.
Between 2013 and 2016, Pence served as Governor of Indiana after 10 years in the U.S. Congress. He was then chosen as former President Trump's running-mate. After winning the election, Pence traveled to the Middle East in January, 2018, concluding his trip in Israel where he visited Yad Vashem and the Western Wall.
At a festive Knesset event held in his honor at the time, Pence made an incredibly pro-Israel speech, saying, among other things, "We believe in the triumph of good over evil, in free choice over dictatorship. This has always been America's way. And if there is one thing the world should know, it is this: America will always stand at Israel's side."