The Israeli Knesset held a special session yesterday to welcome Vice President Pence. Pence was the first American vice president to address the Knesset. He spoke to a packed room. Among those welcoming the vice president were the Israeli president, the Israeli prime minister, and the Israeli leader of the opposition. Roughly all of Israel’s political establishment turned out.
The United States embassy in Tel Aviv, soon to be in Jerusalem, live streamed the proceedings and has posted the video here. The remarks of all involved were pointed, true, and moving. John Adams, let it be noted, received his due.
What about Pence’s speech? In the headline of the Jerusalem Post, “Pence speech rife with biblical references rocks the Knesset.” Pence “rocked” the Knesset in a good way. His speech “was met with one standing ovation after another…” Under President Trump, Pence said, US-Israel ties are stronger than ever.
The contrast with the previous American administration was left implicit. The “arc of history,” so frequently cited and exalted by President Obama, was instead badly bent by him. The Trump administration is doing its best to straighten it out.
The White House has posted the text of Vice President Pence’s speech here. The video of Vice President Pence’s speech is below.
Quotable quotes (per the Jerusalem Post): “We stand with Israel, because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny…The people of the US have always held a special affection and admiration for the People of the Book. In the story of the Jews, we’ve always seen the story of America. It is the story of Exodus, a journey from persecution to freedom, a story that shows the power of faith and the promise of hope.”
And this: “The USA is proud to stand with Israel and her people, as allies and cherished friends. And so we will pray for the peace of Jerusalem, that those who love you be secure, that there be peace within your walls and security in your citadels. And we will work and strive for that brighter future, so everyone who calls this ancient land home shall sit under their vine and fig tree, and none shall make them afraid.”
And this: “As I stand in Abraham’s Promised Land, I believe that all who cherish freedom and seek a brighter future should cast their eyes here and marvel at what they behold…How unlikely is Israel’s birth; how more unlikely is her survival.”