Photo by Avi Ohayon (GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Monday, 22 January 2018), at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, at a dinner for US Vice President Michael Pence, made the following statement:
"Vice President Pence, Mike,
Sara and I want to welcome, again, you and Karen to Jerusalem.
We've known each other for a good many years, and from the day I met you, I knew you were a true friend.
I remember vividly one day in 2009, when I came to meet the Congressional leadership in Washington. And Mike, you spoke up with such clarity and such conviction in support of the direction I was leading Israel. I'll never forget that. And I was touched to learn earlier today that you have a photograph of that very meeting in the Vice President's residence in Washington.
So, it's truly an honor for Sara and me to host you and Karen tonight in our residence. And our wives further deepen our friendship.
I want to express once again Israel’s appreciation to President Trump and to you for the historic decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as our capital.
I also want to commend you for your magnificent speech in the Knesset today. You saw people standing up again and again, applauding you, applauding the principles that guide your policy, applauding the genuine friendship that emanates from your heart.
It was a powerful expression of the enduring bond between our two countries and of your personal commitment to Israel, the commitment of President Trump and your entire delegation.
Earlier today we discussed both common challenges and common opportunities in a very turbulent Middle East.
And the foremost challenge comes from Iran. The tyrants of Tehran have spent billions of dollars spreading murder and mayhem throughout the Middle East to advance their poisonous ideology.
I want to salute both President Trump and you, Mr. Vice President, for standing with the people of Iran when so many in Europe and elsewhere were shamefully silent. Some, and this is hard to believe, some actually hosted the regime's mouthpieces while its goons were throwing thousands of Iranian protestors into prison.
I share the belief you expressed today in the Knesset that Iran’s radical regime will ultimately fall, and one day Iran’s people will win the freedom they so justly deserve. And when that day comes, they will remember those who stood with them and those who stood with their oppressors. You're on the right side of history.
Like President Trump, Israel believes the nuclear deal with Iran is disastrous. It ultimately paves Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal, and a regime that arms terrorists throughout the world, calls for Israel's destruction, calls "death to America" and "death to Israel," such a regime should not have nuclear weapons. That's why Israel supports President Trump’s policy regarding the deal.
And there is still time for leaders to seize the opportunity that President Trump has offered them to correct the failings of this failed deal.
But if those leaders do not seize that opportunity, or if they offer only cosmetic changes, Israel will unequivocally support the President’s decision to walk away from a bad deal and restore crippling sanctions.
Our position is clear: Fully fix it or fully nix it.
The Vice President and I also discussed opportunities for advancing peace. As countries in the region increasingly realize that Israel is not their enemy but a great ally of their wishes for a better future, the chances grow for a broader reconciliation.
Israel will continue to work with President Trump's able representatives, Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt, Ambassador David Friedman, along with our ambassador Ron Dermer, to advance peace with all our neighbors, including the Palestinians. The sooner the Palestinians accept the truth about the millennial connection of the Jewish people to this land and to this city, the sooner we can work together to reach an historic agreement that will create a better future for both our peoples.
We know that in all these efforts, we have no better friends than President Trump and you, Mr. Vice President.
Once again, Mike, Sara and I are honored to host such dear friends of Israel, of the Jewish people and dear personal friends.
Thank you for being a stalwart champion of the alliance between America and Israel and thank you for all you are doing to strengthen that alliance.
Welcome to Jerusalem, welcome to our home."
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)