Mike Pence’s Visit to Israel Postponed

A photograph of Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence holding a poster that says “Make America Great Again” in Hebrew. Credit: Courtesy
Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Israel has been postponed so he can stay in Washington to promote the Trump administration’s tax reforms in Congress, according to Israeli reports.

The final vote on tax reform in the Senate is scheduled for Tuesday, and Pence has been intimately involved in shepherding the legislation through the Senate, according to Axios.

Pence had been scheduled to arrive in Israel on Sunday to meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Mike Pence on a former trip to Israel (Pence, Indiana Governor site)

Under a revised but not final schedule, according to reports in the Israeli media, Pence will arrive Wednesday evening in Israel from Egypt and speak to the Knesset the following day. His visit also reportedly includes stops at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and the Western Wall.

Mike Pence on a former trip to Israel (Pence, Indiana Governor site)

The vice president will be meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin separately at their offices in Jerusalem.

Earlier this week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he would not meet with Pence due to President Donald Trump’s announcement of U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

President Donald Trump and President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas meet, Wednesday, May 3, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. (The White House)

Since he is no longer meeting with Abbas, the visit to Bethlehem reportedly has been removed from the schedule. Bethlehem has said it would not accept a visit from Pence, Haaretz reported. Pence, who is a devout Christian, reportedly does not have any churches on his schedule during his visit to Israel.

Meanwhile, according to Hadashot news, the custodian in charge of the keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, who is Muslim, has refused to officially receive Pence at the church during his visit to Jerusalem, citing the recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.

Adeeb Joudeh with the Key to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Credit: Pierre Klochendler/IPS.

Pence’s original schedule had him lighting the Hanukkah menorah at the Western Wall before traveling to Egypt.