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December 14, 2017 10:23 am

US Vice President Pence Postpones Visit to Israel, Due to Expected Tax Reform Votes

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US Vice President Mike Pence. Photo: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons. – Vice President Mike Pence has delayed his upcoming visit to Israel due to issues with US tax reform legislation, which is intended to pass through Congress before Christmas.

Pence was originally scheduled to arrive in Israel on Dec. 17, but is now slated to arrive in the Jewish state by Dec. 20.

During his visit to the region, Pence will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials in Jerusalem. He will also meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo.

Pence had originally planned to make a private visit to the Western Wall and light Hanukkah candles, but his new arrival time no longer coincides with the Jewish holiday. He will reportedly address the Knesset, in what will be the first such address to the Israeli legislature by a senior US official since a speech by President George W. Bush in 2008.

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Pence had planned to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, but Abbas cancelled the meeting following US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Pence, an evangelical Christian, had also requested to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, but the Muslim custodian of the church refused to welcome the American leader, also in protest of US recognition of the Israeli capital.

The vice president’s visit is slated to focus on the US commitment to regional peace talks, American policy on Iran and collaboration with Israel’s space program.

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