Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday dismissed as “complete
rubbish” a Haaretz report that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, after
cancelling plans to attend Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, also stood up the
Reform movement at the last minute.
According to the report, in the same
week that he decided not to pay tribute to Mandela, Netanyahu also decided to
cancel his trip to San Diego, to deliver the keynote at the Biennial Meeting of
the Union for Reform Judaism.
According to the report, “the formal
decision and announcement that Netanyahu’s speech would be delivered via
satellite from Israel, and not in person, was only made Tuesday, just a day
before the five-day biennial was scheduled to begin.”
The source said
that Netanyahu accepted the invitation to address the delegates to the
conference, either in person or via satellite, more than two months
However, at no stage was a commitment made to attend in person, the
According to the source in the Prime Minister Office, it
informed the Reform movement in November that he would not be making the trip,
as he would not be in the US at the time of the conference, and would therefore
deliver his remarks via satellite link.
The conference started on
Wednesday, and will run until Sunday; Netanyahu appears on the web site of the
event as one of the featured speakers.
He is scheduled to deliver his
address on Sunday.
This is the second time in a week that there was
confusion about the format of a Netanyahu speech.
The Saban Conference in
Washington, over the weekend, billed Netanyahu’s speech there – also via video
hookup – as a conversation with PBS newsman Charlie Rose.
according to the Prime Minister’s Office, is that they never cleared that with
Netanyahu’s office, which did not agree to that format.
In the end,
Netanyahu delivered a speech without any intermediary.
according to the Prime Minister’s Office, was simple: US President Barack Obama
was “interviewed” at the forum by major Democratic Party contributor, Haim
Saban, which ensured him this would not be a hard-hitting interview, and US
Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech without any
Netanyahu, therefore, did not feel compelled to have his
words interrupted by questions.