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Vice President Pence Arrives in Israel

Pence in Israel

Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Israel Sunday, his final stop on a four-day, three-nation visit to the Middle East.

CBN's Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell was at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv when the VP's plane landed early Sunday evening.


Pence is scheduled to address Israel's Knesset Monday and meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.

Pence is not scheduled to meet with any Palestinian leaders, who are angry after President Trump's announcement last month recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and pledging to move the US Embassy there. The leader of a coalition of Israeli Arabs in the Knesset said his members will boycott Pence's speech.

The trip is partially aimed at reassuring Arab allies in the region, particularly the president of Egypt and the king of Jordan, that the US remains committed to supporting a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

Earlier Sunday, Pence met with King Abdullah of Jordan, who expressed his concerns at Trump's Jerusalem announcement.

"For us, Jerusalem is key to Muslims and Christians as it is to Jews.  It is key to peace in the region and key to enabling Muslims to effectively fight some of our root causes of radicalization," he said. 

The VP reassured King Abdullah that the US remains committed to a two-state solution if both parties agree.

"President Trump made a historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but as he also made clear in that decision that we are committed to continue to respect Jordan’s role as the custodian of holy sites, that we take no position on boundaries and final status," Pence said.

He delivered the same message to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi Saturday.

"I assured him that, even as President Trump made that decision a decision that I will reaffirm in Jordan and reaffirm in Israel before the end of this trip that we'll also reaffirm what President Trump also said – that we're absolutely committed to preserving the status quo with regard to holy sites in Jerusalem," said Pence.

"We have come to no final resolution about boundaries or other issues that are going to be negotiated between the parties," he continued.

Pence also spoke with el-Sisi on behalf of two American prisoners being held in Egypt.

Those two prisoners, Ahmed Etwiy and Mustafa Kassem, have been there since 2013.

"President el-Sisi assured me that he would give that very serious attention in both cases," said Pence.

There was no mention of other American prisoners. 

The vice president says he also assured the Egyptian leader the US stood commited to helping them in their fight against terrorism.

“The United States stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Egypt in their fight against terrorism in this country, and we will continue to collaborate with Egypt in taking the fight to terrorists across the region,” Pence told reporters.

Last November, more than 300 people were killed in a mosque attack in the northern Sinai. 

In December, 10 people were killed during an attack on a Coptic Christian church.

The second lady has been on a bit of a tour of her own, promoting art therapy.

On Saturday she met with art therapist Carol Hammal, founder of Cairo’s Wellness Hub.

"Art therapy is a new profession in Egypt with only one art therapist who is trained to provide art therapy treatment," said Mrs. Pence.

The second lady is a champion of art therapy and has made it her mission to bring awareness about the power of healing through the arts.

Vice President Pence arrives in Israel on Sunday.

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