Obama will not address Knesset during upcoming visit

According to senior Knesset source, requests for Obama to address the Israeli people in its representative body were rejected.

March 7, 2013 02:16
1 minute read.
US President Barack Obama after ordering cuts in government spending, March 1, 2013.

US President Barack Obama looking upset 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing)

US President Barack Obama will not speak in the Knesset on his visit to Israel later this month, a senior Knesset source said on Wednesday.

According to the source, requests for Obama to address the Israeli people in its representative body were rejected, and the Knesset is not preparing for him to give a speech in the plenum.

Obama plans to visit Israel on March 20.

Last month, acting Knesset Speaker Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud Beytenu), the speaker of the 18th Knesset who is considered the leading candidate for the 19th, asked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to request that Obama address the plenum.

Former US presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have addressed the Knesset in the past.

“The Israeli people certainly are thirsty to hear the president of the US speak to it directly, and there is no better place for him to do it than the Knesset,” Ben-Eliezer stated.

Rivlin also called for Obama to address the Knesset. “All world leaders who visited Israel, including US presidents that preceded [Obama] and [former] Egyptian president Anwar Sadat visited the Knesset, out of understanding that it is the House of Representatives of the nation of Israel and the source of the State of Israel’s power as a democratic country,” Rivlin explained.

Rivlin added that the Knesset is an arena for arguments and decisions, and the only place to present diplomatic plans with decisive ramifications.

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