U.S. Vice President Mike Pence planned a visit, called it off and finally arrived in Israel Sunday during a dramatic shut down of his government. Meeting with Netanyahu, Pence received a warm head-of-state welcome in Jerusalem and is scheduled to give a speech on U.S.-Israel relations in a special Knesset session.
Pence has called himself "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican in that order." Born in Columbus, Indiana, the former governor is famous for his social conservatism on hot-button issues like abortion and LGBT rights. A devout evangelical, born-again Christian, Pence's heavy influence on the formation of Trump's Israel policy has been widely reported.
Meeting with Netanyahu, Pence said he's hopeful "we are at the dawn of a new era" of renewed efforts to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace. However, prospects aren't looking great. The Palestinian Authority is boycotting Pence's visit to the region, as are Christian leaders in Israel due to Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The night Pence landed, Palestinian demonstrators burned images of the U.S. vice president in Bethlehem in protest of his visit.
All this begs the questions: How does Israel and the Middle East fit in Pence's worldview? What are some things he has said in the past that could give us some idea? If you think you know it all about President Trump's right-hand man, think again.
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