Photo Credit: courtesy, Western Wall Heritage Foundation / Twitter
Former US Vice President Mike Pence at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on March 7, 2022

Former US Vice President Mike Pence prayed in the Cave of the Patriarchs on Wednesday during his visit to Hebron. The Jewish community of Hebron was excited to host former US Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen. This is the first time a former vice-president visited the city.

Mike Pence and Yishai Fleisher in Hebron. March 9, 2022

The high level delegation toured the City of Abraham with the international spokesperson of the Jewish community of Hebron Yishai Fleisher. They met with chairman of the community council Rabbi Hillel Horowitz, Hebrew spokesperson Dr. Noam Arnon and Uri Karzen, CEO of the Jewish community committee.

Mike Pence and Yishai Fleisher in Hebron. March 9, 2022
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“Great honor for Karen Pence and I to travel to Hebron today to visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs at the Cave of Machpelah that Abraham bought to bury Sarah nearly 4,000 years ago,” Pence wrote on Twitter. He added that Abraham is revered by three “great world religions and it was a joy for Karen and I to be able to visit his final resting place.”

Related Video: https://www.jewishpress.com/multimedia/video-picks/mike-pence-in-hebron-the-video/2022/03/10/

Hebron representatives expressed their appreciation for Mr. Pence’s clear support for the Jewish people and the Land of Israel and especially for his stance regarding the UNESCO declaration declaring Hebron to be an exclusively Palestinian heritage site.

In 2017, the World Heritage Center of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization declared the Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs to be a Palestinian heritage site in danger from Israel. This site is the burial place of the forefathers and mothers of the Jewish people, features the Herodian structure built over the cave during the Second Temple period. It existed thousands of years before the term “Palestinian” came into use to refer to Arab residents. In response to this decision, the United States decided to withdraw from UNESCO.

At the time, US Vice President Mike Pence delivered a powerful speech explaining their decision. He spoke at length about Abraham of the Bible with admiration and reverence. In another speech he stated, “to see Israel is to see how the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob keeps his promises.”

The former Vice President and his wife received gold coins produced by the Jewish community of Hebron depicting the Biblical Abraham and Sarah and an image of the Cave of the Patriarchs complex.

While walking past the Tomb of the Patriarchs long-time Hebron resident and Members of Knesset Itamar Ben-Gvir approached Mr. Pence and his delegation to express his thanks.

“I was happy to meet former US Vice President Mike Pence, in Hebron, the city of our Patriarchs,” Ben Gvir later said in a statement. “I thanked him for coming to visit us, and for his standing and support alongside the State of Israel.”

In response to a comment by Ben Gvir that he is “fighting against our enemies,” Pence replied, “That’s what I’ve heard. Be strong, we’re with you.”

The MK thanked Pence for his visit to Hebron, one of the four holy cities of the Torah.

Mike Pence and Itamar Ben-Gvir. March 9, 2022.

During their visit to the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, Mr. Pence and his wife received a special blessing from Rabbi Hillel Horowitz, and together in private, gave a short prayer next to the memorial markers indicating their burial chambers in the cave below.
The vice president expressed encouragement to the residents of Hebron for their steadfastness and voices support to their right to reside and thrive in the city.

Run for 2024?
Pence met for dinner on Monday night with Dr. Miriam Adelson at her home in Jerusalem, a few hours after he landed at Ben Gurion International Airport, amid speculation that he is laying the groundwork for a GOP presidential run in 2024.

On Tuesday, the former vice president visited the Western Wall, accompanied by Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch.

“Israel needs to be strong, and that is what our prayers are for,” Pence said while at the Wall, carefully placing a note in between the ancient stones and commenting on the “sense of sanctity” in “this place.”

During an interview with the Israel Hayom daily (which is owned by Dr. Adelson) Pence said that he believes the Republican Party will win back control of the House of Representatives and Senate in this year’s mid-term elections.

“I believe we’ll win back American and the White House in 2024,” he said, adding, “Anyone at the negotiating table [with Iran] should understand that come 2025, I believe we will have a Republican president, a Republican administration. And if the JCPOA [nuclear deal] finds a way to be resurrected, we will be a part and a voice of a chorus of Americans with the new administration coming into office to end the JCPOA just as quickly as we ended it under the Trump-Pence administration.”

Opposes Revival of JCPOA
Prior to his arrival, Pence told the newspaper that he believes it is “just unconscionable that the American administration is at the same time negotiating at the side of the Russians to restart the Iran nuclear deal.

“It would be bad in a peace time to restarting the nuclear deal. To literally be working with the Russians to achieve some – once again, deeply flawed and dangerous – agreement with the ayatollahs in Iran is just utterly unacceptable.”

The former vice president met with both Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Isaac Herzog on Tuesday. Herzog thanked Pence for his “friendship and support and for always standing with Israel.”

Following his meeting with Herzog, Pence met with Bennett. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the two men “discussed the nuclear agreement and its implications, as well as the situation in Ukraine.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.