After personal prayers at the Western Wall and a sober and solemn visit to Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, the Vice President of the United States of America, Mike Pence, rose from his seat on the podium of our parliament, the Knesset in Jerusalem, to deliver his awaited address to the assembled members of the Knesset.
Immediately as he began speaking, all the members of the Arab delegations stood up and shouted him down in loud protest. Their raucous behavior required the security guards to round them up and escort them out of the Knesset chambers. The speaker of the Knesset, Yuri Edelstein, walked directly to the microphone and apologized to the Vice President for the rudeness and lack of respect from the Arab members of the Knesset.
Mr. Pence then proceeded with his remarks, words that will be remembered in the history books of our country. He defended President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel to rousing applause. He spoke of the Jewish relationship to Jerusalem over a period of three thousand years. And the most exciting moment in his remarks were his Hebrew quotation… “she hecheyanu v’kiyamanu v’higiyanu la’zman ha zeh”…… praising God for being able to reach this special time.
A standing ovation. Loud and continuous applause. And some members were seen wiping their eyes for this joyous and historic moment.
I had invited some friends to come to my apartment and to watch with me live history. None of them could speak English and few could understand Mr. Pence’s remarks even though a Hebrew translation was flashed onto the television screen. They depended upon me to translate the portions of his speech which received the loudest and longest applause.
They were angered when they saw the Arab protest and the lack of respect for the American dignitary. But I shared with them a positive observation. I told them that we should be pleased to watch the Arabs defy the American Vice President because it would demonstrate to him more than words could convey the lack of respect by all the Arab members and their lack for any commitment to tolerance and peace.
Additionally, the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmud Abbas, went out of his way to snub the Vice President and to boycott any meeting with him. President Donald Trump reacted angrily at the show of lack of respect and insults to the Vice President of the United States. And he at once penalized aid to the Palestinians by decreasing the amount significantly as a punishment for the insult to America.
Mike Pence spoke with passion about the history of the Jews, of their contribution to world society and of Israel’s remarkable achievements over the past 70 years. I have high hopes that he will be a future American president. Israel is blessed with such a dignified and true friend.
My friends sat, munching on pistachio nuts and sipping cold water, in a state of trance. Although they did not understand all of Mr. Pence’s brilliant remarks they were fascinated by the passion in his deliverance.
Most Israelis have hailed President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as a sign of the coming of a future messiah. For two thousand years we have waited for the recognition of the famous city built by King David, site of the monarchy, of our Holy Temple, of our priests and prophets. And in the year 5778 (2018) we have lived to see and to hear our dream fulfilled.
All of us can join with Mr. Pence in reciting the prayer of “she hecheyanu”, giving heartfelt love and thanks to our God, the Rock of Israel, for the privilege of hearing the remarks of America’s Vice President.
Praise be to Mike Pence. May God continue to watch over him and to protect him. And it is my personal hope that he will receive the honor of cutting the ribbon when the new American embassy is dedicated and opened in blessed and holy Jerusalem.