Pence plans to address Knesset during Israel trip
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Pence plans to address Knesset during Israel trip

Israeli officials say the US vice president offered to speak before the legislature when he visits in December, and they immediately accepted

Vice President Mike Pence speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 27, 2017, during the annual meeting of the National Federation of Independent Business on health care, jobs, and the economy. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Vice President Mike Pence speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 27, 2017, during the annual meeting of the National Federation of Independent Business on health care, jobs, and the economy. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

US Vice President Mike Pence will speak before the Knesset when he visits Israel in mid-December, Channel 10 news reported Wednesday.

Top Israeli officials told the TV station that Pence had been the one to suggest an address to the Israeli parliament, an offer that was immediately accepted.

Pence will be the first top US official to address the Knesset since George W. Bush’s visit in May of 2008.

The vice president will arrive in Israel on December 18, where he will be received at a formal ceremony. His speech before the Knesset is expected on the same day.

Pence’s address is likely to concentrate on the alliance between the two nations, and to devote a significant amount of time to the regional threat posed by Iran.

During his visit, Pence is to discuss the prospects for a Middle East peace agreement in separate meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to the White House.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, meets US Vice President Mike Pence in Washington DC, February 16, 2017. (Avi Ohayun/GPO)

The vice president will also travel to Egypt and meet with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, to highlight US-Egypt cooperation on security issues.

Pence also plans to have meetings with government and religious leaders to discuss combating the persecution of religious minorities — including Christians — in the broader Middle East.

AP contributed to this report.

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