Mike Pence to address Knesset during December Israel visit


JERUSALEM (JTA) — U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will address the Knesset when he visits Israel next month.

Senior officials in Jerusalem told Israel’s Channel 10 news that Pence had suggested speaking to the Knesset, and that his offer was accepted.

Pence will be the first senior US official to address the Knesset since President George W. Bush in May 2008 to mark Israel’s 60th year of independence.

Pence is scheduled to visit Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt during a mid-December swing through the Middle East, on a trip whose stated goal is to check on the status of Christians in the region. He reportedly will address the Knesset on December 18.

Channel 10 reported that Pence’s speech is expected to deal with the U.S.-Israel relationship and also   Iran’s nuclear program and the threat to the Middle East. It is not expected to discuss President Donald Trump’s peace initiative.

Pence is expected to discuss a potential peace agreement in separate meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. He will meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo.

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