United States Vice President Michael Pence, his wife Karen, and a delegation of more than 150 US officials will visit the Knesset on Monday, January 22, as guests of Speaker Yuli Edelstein. The VP, who also serves as President of the US Senate, will address a special session of the Israeli parliament. His speech will follow addresses by Edelstein, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, who speak in Hebrew.
The speeches will be broadcast live via the Knesset TV Channel.
The VP has been scheduled to visit Israel a number of times this winter, but was forced to cancel in order to be available to cast a possible tie-breaking vote at the Senate, on President Trump’s tax reform bill. Pence was also originally scheduled to continue from Jerusalem to Ramallah, for a meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, but the latter has cancelled that meeting in protest of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
President Reuven Rivlin, Supreme Court President Esther Hayut and many local dignitaries will follow Pence’s appearance from the Knesset gallery, which is expected to be packed with 800 guests.
Security at the Knesset will be tight, under a special protocol of coordination by all the relevant elements.
Ahead of the visit, Speaker Edelstein said in a statement that US Vice President Pence’s speech at the Knesset “is no less than a historic event which comes at a very significant time for Israel and the Middle East. This speech is one that we will listen to with utmost attention, and here in the Knesset we will make every effort to host Vice President Pence in the most proper and impressive manner.”
If you are planning to visit Jerusalem next Monday – go on Tuesday instead.