Netanyahu Lauds Pence Ahead of Israel Arrival: 'There Is No Substitute for U.S. Leadership'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slams members of Knesset planning to boycott Pence's visit

Mike Pence and Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Jerusalem, 2015.
Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lauded U.S. Vice President Mike Pence preceding his arrival on Sunday in a cabinet meeting, saying "there is no substitute for U.S. leadership" in promoting peace and security in the Middle East.

"Tonight a great friend of the State of Israel will arrive...a true friend," said Netanyahu of the U.S. vice president.

Netanyahu continued, saying that the two will speak about Iranian nuclear program and will discuss security and peace in the region.

"I view it as a disgrace that members of Knesset intend to boycott this important visit," said Netanyahu, saying that they plan on interrupting him, and that all should pay him "the great respect that he is due."

Earlier on Sunday, the head of Israel's Arab coalition party, Member of Knesset Ayman Odeh vowed to boycott Pence's visit. "He is a dangerous man with a messianic vision that includes the destruction of the entire region. He comes here as an emissary of a man who is even more dangerous, a pyromaniac, a racist misogynist who cannot be allowed to lead the way."

Odeh further said that the entire Arab Joint List will boycott the Knesset plenary session in which Pence is scheduled to speak, on Monday afternoon.

Jordan's King Abdullah expressed concern on Sunday over a decision by Washington to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and said the only solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict was a two-state one.