JERUSALEM – Vice President Mike Pence was photographed Thursday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in front of a painting of the Jewish Temple in the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
Pence and Netanyahu were flanked by several other Israeli and American officials, including, most notably, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
Behind the men is a painting of Jews trekking to the Temple in Jerusalem. Otherworldly rays connect the sky to the Temple.
The meeting came amid reports that President Donald Trump’s long-awaited “Deal of the Century” would be unveiled next week as Pence invited Netanyahu and his political rival, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, to fly to Washington on Tuesday.
Pence was in Israel along with nearly 50 other heads of state to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.
Netanyahu thanked Pence for speaking “exceptionally movingly” about the Holocaust.
“Thank you. Mr. Vice President, first let me say that you spoke exceptionally movingly today, both in the substance and the depth of feeling that you conveyed, and it was a universal expression of a firm, moral stance to translate memory into action. And you are translating it into action,” the prime minister said.
“President Trump and you are standing against the worst manifestation of antisemitism, and that is the call of Iran to wipe out the six million and more Jews of Israel. You spoke about it clearly today, and you act clearly every day,” he added.
Netanyahu went on to thank Trump for giving Israel peace and security.
“We’ve had no better friend than President Trump. That friendship is expressed in the fact that we’re in the American Embassy in Jerusalem, that Jerusalem was recognized by President Trump as Israel’s capital, that President Trump has recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and now, with this invitation, I think that the president is seeking to give Israel peace and security, the peace and security that it deserves,” he said.
He said he “gladly accepted” Pence’s invitation to the White House next week.
The two Israeli politicians will fly out on Tuesday, the same day a Knesset vote is planned for the establishment of a committee to debate Netanyahu’s request for immunity in the corruption charges facing him.
The Trump administration’s peace proposal set to roll out next week will be the most generous American peace plan ever for Israel, a Channel 12 report said citing an unnamed source. It would reportedly allow for Israeli sovereignty over all West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley alongside a recognition of demilitarized Palestinian state.
The plan would include a “major shift of the [Israeli] border” eastwards, the report said, and would meet all of Israel’s security demands.
All Likud ministers were banned from media interviews Thursday in deference to the Trump administration’s upcoming plans, the report said.
The Palestinians would receive statehood so long as they adhered to the following four conditions: 1) Recognize Israel as a Jewish state; 2) demilitarize Gaza; 3) disarm the Hamas terror group; 4) recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. If the Palestinians object, the report said, the White House may then turn to Israel and effectively greenlight the annexation of West Bank settlements immediately.
The proposal’s main aim, the source said, is to add territories to Israel and to allow for an almost unbroken territorial succession, with a continuum that would provide West Bank communities the ability to reach Jerusalem “on foot.”
The term aliya baregel, literally translated as “going up by foot,” refers to the biblical pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem that took place three times a year on the Jewish festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Succot.