Photo Credit: Miriam Alster / Flash 90
US Vice President Mike Pence meets with President Reuven Rivlin at the President's residence in Jerusalem, on January 23, 2018.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin told U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during their meeting Tuesday morning that his reaffirmation of President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was a “clear gift” to the Jewish State.

But he began by honoring the vice president with the Yiddish description of being “a mensch.”

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Rivlin told Pence that “in America, they probably know what is a mensch, but for the people in Israel who don’t know American or Yiddish, a mensch is a real human being.”

The two men spoke about a range of topics during their visit, among them the importance of the “robust” security collaboration between the two countries, and the united front against “the leading state sponsor of terror,” Iran.

“In President Trump’s recent decision to announce that the waiver he will sign on sanctions under the Iran nuclear deal would be the last one, we are sending a signal to our European allies that the time has come for changes in the Iran nuclear deal,” Pence confirmed. Those changes, he said, “will ensure the sunset provisions in the deal are completely eliminated, and that punitive sanctions will be available for many years to come to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“”You have our commitment (that we would) work closely with our allies around the world to achieve that,” he said, adding that “If our allies would not join us, President Trump has made it clear we would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal immediately.”

Israel’s president had high praise for the United States on all counts – but especially in regard to the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and commented that it’s important to be unstinting when expressing appreciation for the good things when they occur.

“My tutor, former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, said at the time that the obvious should be said from time to time, even be written down. And, the obvious was said, and we appreciated this very much and see this as a clear gift on the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel.

“I am a Jerusalemite, son of a Jerusalemite, son of the son of a Jerusalemite,” Rivlin said. “I was born as a seventh generation to my family; we have come to Jerusalem 210 years ago. One hundred years we have lived with our neighbors and our cousins, the Arab community in Jerusalem, in harmony. Unfortunately, we are now in a sort of tragedy for both of us…. We have to continue in order to find a way to build confidence between the two peoples,” he said, but added that the Palestinian Authority leadership must understand “The Jewish people have returned to their homeland – not as compensation for the Holocaust.”

Pence emphasized that President Donald Trump “truly believes” the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital… “will set the table for the opportunity to move forward in meaningful negotiations to achieve a lasting peace and end the decades-long conflict.”

Rivlin’s response: “Inshallah,” which he translated for Pence. “It’s Arabic; it means, ‘With God’s help.’”

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