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MKs propose Israeli version of State of the Union address

February 10, 2014 17:18

Bill would have PM, IDF chief of staff, chief of police, Knesset speaker, opposition leader and Supreme Court president speak to public.

Labor Party MK Hilik Bar

Labor Party MK Hilik Bar 370. (photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

Senior government officials will have to deliver a yearly “State of the Nation” speech to the Knesset, if a bill submitted by MKs Hilik Bar (Labor) and Orly Levy-Abecassis (Likud Beytenu) Monday becomes law.

The proposal is meant to strengthen the public’s connection to the government by having senior figures give annual speeches describing their work and what they plan to do in the coming year.

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Bar and Levy-Abecassis’s bill would require the prime minister, IDF chief of staff, chief of police, Knesset speaker, opposition leader and Supreme Court president to speak about their accomplishments and goals in a forum that would be open to the press.

Any media outlet funded by the government would be required to broadcast it live.

The Education Ministry would choose 12th-grade students from across the country to sit in the audience during the speeches.

“The leaders who run our daily lives have the responsibility and the privilege to look the public in the eyes and give a full account, in an orderly manner, at least once a year if not more,” Bar said.

If the bill becomes law, officials will “talk straight to the nation and report their achievements, failures and challenges,” unlike the current situation, in which they address the public only sporadically, Bar said.

Bar pointed to the US president’s State of the Union speech as an example of a “welcome tradition” that encourages leadership.
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