U.S. Vice President Mike Pence landed at Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport at around 7:00 PM on Sunday evening. Pence then left the airport and headed to Jerusalem, where he will spend the next two days meeting with Israeli officials and visiting the Western Wall and Yad Vashem.

Pence lands in Israel

Pence lands in Israel Photo Credit: Kobi Richter/TPS

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence landed in Israel on Sunday evening for a two-day visit. Most of his time will be spent in Jerusalem, where thousands of police officers will be patrolling the streets to make sure that his visit proceeds without incident.

Pence’s time in Israel is part of his brief trip to the Middle East. Pence has already met with Egypt’s president in Cairo and Jordan’s king in Amman. The U.S. vice president was greeted at the airport by Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

Levin thanked Pence for the part he played in the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Likud minister also told Pence that Israel values its strong ties with the U.S.

While this is not Pence’s first time in Israel, it is his first time being in the Jewish state in this official capacity. Moreover, Pence’s visit represents the first arrival of a senior U.S. official since the December 6 declaration.

Ahead of Pence’s arrival, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the U.S. vice president “a true friend” of Israel and said that he is looking forward to their discussions about Washington’s efforts to counter Iran’s aggression. He also said that they would discuss advancing security and peace in the Middle East. “Whoever truly aspires to realize these goals knows that there is no substitute for US leadership,” Netanyahu added.

From the airport, Pence headed to the Jerusalem hotel where he will be staying during his visit. Tomorrow morning, he will meet with Netanyahu and address the Israeli lawmakers at the Knesset. Netanyahu will host Pence tomorrow evening for dinner at his official residence in Jerusalem.

On Tuesday, Pence will meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin before visiting the Yad Vashem museum and the Western Wall. At 4:30 PM, Pence will depart from Ben-Gurion Airport, heading back to Washington.