Netanyahu: Congress speech should air on TV, is public interest not election propaganda

PM responds to petition by Gal-On and Eldad Yaniv to block the speech's broadcast on grounds that it is illegal election campaigning.

February 10, 2015 17:47
1 minute read.

Netanyahu speaks during a cornerstone laying ceremony in Sderot.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

It is in the public's interest that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's planned speech to both houses of the US Congress be aired on television, his attorneys told the Central Election Committee Tuesday.

Lawyers David and Shaul Shimron responded to petitions from Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On and Zionist Union campaigner Eldad Yaniv, which called for the panel to block the speech's broadcast on grounds that it is illegal election campaigning.

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It is illegal to broadcast campaign speeches for 60 days before an election. Netanyahu’s speech to Congress about Iran is planned for March 3, and the election is on March 17. The ban on speeches came into effect on January 16.

The rebuttal called Gal-On and Yaniv's claims "puzzling, ridiculous and even cynical, because of the fact that is clear to all that the initiative to make the speech came from the US Speaker of the House John Boehner and not the prime minister."

"Naturally, Netanyahu's speech to the American Congress in such an important matter which has great news value and the public has a right to watch it," the attorneys wrote.

"This interest in the public is especially acute in light of repeated reports of an agreement in principle that is being formed at this time and could be signed soon."

Likud's spokesman criticized Gal-On and Yaniv's "critical attempt to turn a matter that is critical to Israel's security to one that is political, connected to the election." The party added that Netanyahu has been fighting Iran's nuclear plan for years, saying it is his responsibility to warn the world from every platform possible of the dangers of a bad agreement with Iran.

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