Mike Pence says God had a hand in creating State of Israel, pledges to move embassy to Jerusalem
Mike Pence said that God had a hand in creating the state of Israel, as he heaped praise on the Jewish state while addressing the evangelical group Christians United for Israel last night.
The Vice President also promised that the Trump administration will move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
'Indeed though Israel was built by human hands it is impossible not to sense that just beneath its history lies the hand of heaven,' Pence said.
The group, founded by the controversial San Antonio pastor John Hagee, is composed largely of evangelicals and met in Washington this week in to celebrate what its members consider to be an administration more in line with its values.
According to the Religion News Service (RNS), Pence thrilled his audience, quoting from the Prophet Ezekiel's vision of the dry bones: 'Ezekiel prophesied, and I quote, "behold I will cause breathe to enter into you and you shall live".
'The State of Israel and her people bear witness to God's faithfulness as well as their own. How unlikely was Israel's birth? How more unlikely has been her survival and how confounding against the odds has been her thriving?' he said.
Since Israel's founding, Pence added, 'the Jewish people have awed the world with their strength of will and their strength of character'.
Pence also pledged that Trump would indeed make good on his controversial promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem, a move that would infuriate Palestinians. 'It is not a question of "if". It is only "when,"' he said to cheers.
Congress passed a law in 1995 requiring the move, but every president since has delayed it out of concerns over the so-called peace process, and Trump did the same last month, signing the waiver — which expires every six months — that keeps the embassy in Tel Aviv.
According to Barbara Goldberg Goldman, a member of the executive committee of the National Jewish Democratic Council who watched Pence's speech, Trump has reneged on his promise to move the embassy.
Goldman also told the RNS that it was wrong to claim that the current administration is any more pro-Israel than the last.
'In terms of deliverables with respect to Israel, nothing has happened,' Goldman said. 'To present this as a new day? No. It is a continuation of the strong unwavering bond that Israel has had with America and America has had with Israel,' she said.