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Knesset Speaker Edelstein and PM Netanyahu butted heads over the country's 70 Independence Day cerem
Photo: Atta Awisat
PM bows out of 70th Independence Day ceremony
Following acrimonious dispute with Knesset Speaker Edelstein, PM Netanyahu aborts participation in 70th Independence Day ceremony citing 'security constraints'; Culture Minister Regev initially announced Netanyahu will speak at event, invite foreign leaders; in response, Edelstein threatened to boycott ceremony, hinder passage of 2018 budget.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he will not be attending the traditional Independence Day torch lighting ceremony for Israel's 70 Independence Day celebrations, nor will he invite foreign leaders as he previously stated.

 

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he will not be attending the traditional Independence Day torch lighting ceremony for Israel's 70 Independence Day celebrations, nor will he invite foreign leaders as he previously stated.

 

PM Netanyahu (L) said he will not be attending Israel's 70th Independence Day ceremony to appear Knesset Speaker Edelstein (Photo: Knesset Spokesmanship)
PM Netanyahu (L) said he will not be attending Israel's 70th Independence Day ceremony to appear Knesset Speaker Edelstein (Photo: Knesset Spokesmanship)

 

The official reason for Netanyahu's announcement was security constraints, but the true reason may be traced to a raucous conflict with Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein.

 

The entire affair started several weeks ago, when Minister of Culture Miri Regev announced the prime minister will also be speaking at the annual Mount Herzl Independence Day ceremony, marking the first time a prime minister was to speak at the event.

 

Tradition since Israel's foundation, however, dictated that only the Knesset's speaker makes a speech at the festive event. Netanyahu also announced he intended to invite world leaders to attend the ceremony.

 

Regev's announcement created a furor and was perceived to be a slight aimed at Edelstein, who was infuriated by the news announced that if Netanyahu decided to speak at the ceremony he will not be attending, and further threatened to foil the passage of the country's budget for next year.

 

Minister of Culture Regev initially announced Netanyahu  will speak at the ceremony (Photo: Marc Israel Sellem)
Minister of Culture Regev initially announced Netanyahu will speak at the ceremony (Photo: Marc Israel Sellem)

News broke Thursday that Edelstein's campaign against Netanyahu's speech was a success, with Netanyahu aborting his participation in the event altogether.

 

The official reason cited was security constraints. In a meeting Prime Minister Netanyahu held yesterday with the Shin Bet's security division and representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Culture it was discovered Netanyahu's plan had far-reaching security implications, which may end up harming bereaved families who visited their loved ones' Mount Herzl graves during Yom Hazikaron (Israel's memorial day for fallen soldiers).

 

Should world leaders such as President Trump (R) be invited by the PM to attend the ceremony, bereaved families will not be able to visit their loves ones' graves (Photo: Reuters)
Should world leaders such as President Trump (R) be invited by the PM to attend the ceremony, bereaved families will not be able to visit their loves ones' graves (Photo: Reuters)

 

Officials explained to the prime minister that should high-ranking guests such as the president of the United States, the president of Russia or the chancellor of Germany attend the ceremony, the entire area around the event will have to be cleared of people several days in advance.

 

The ceremony's organizers will now have to busy themselves with deciding where exactly Netanyahu may greet the foreign dignitaries. The Culture Minister's office said in a statement, "Minister Regev was made aware that due to security constraints the prime minister will not be able to attend the ceremony. The minister announced that events marking the 70th Independence Day will be held as planned, and within the NIS 100 million budgetary framework previously approved by the government."

 


פרסום ראשון: 11.17.17, 21:14
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