The White House has announced that U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence will visit Israel in December during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights.
The vice president is expected to meet in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, as well as with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas as part of an attempt to assess the chances for a comprehensive U.S. peace initiative between the two parties and in the region as a whole.
Pence is also slated to discuss with Netanyahu Israel’s space program.
Also on the agenda will be the measures carried out by Washington to rein in Iran’s attempts to continue to expand its nuclear technology program despite the JCPOA nuclear deal signed in 2016, and extend its power base in the Middle East via its elite Revolutionary Guard Corps and terrorist proxy groups. President Donald Trump earlier this month announced his decision not to recertify Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) which sends the issue instead to Congress.
The vice president will follow up his visit to Israel will a trip to Cairo to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to discuss bilateral security issues. He’ll meet with government and religious leaders as well to talk about ways to combat persecution of religious minorities, including Christians, in the broader Middle East.