Rivlin: Obama not visiting Knesset is 'worrying'

US Republican: Decision to skip speech at Knesset is "unfathomable."

March 20, 2013 13:56
2 minute read.
Likud MK Reuven Rivlin

Rivlin 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


US President Barack Obama’s decision not to visit the Knesset is “worrying,” former Knesset speaker MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud Beytenu) said ahead of Obama’s arrival in Israel on Wednesday.

“Three American presidents have spoken on the Knesset stage, as well as [Egyptian president Anwar] Sadat and leaders from Europe,” Rivlin said. “President Obama should speak to the people of Israel through its elected representatives.”

According to Rivlin, Obama’s decision not to address the Knesset is a cause for concern because it shows that he does not have faith in the representatives of the nation to which he is speaking.

US presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush addressed the Knesset. President Richard Nixon visited the legislature, but did not give a speech on its stage.

Click here for full JPost coverage of Obama's visit to Israel

Rivlin, at the request of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and National Security Council leader Yaakov Amidror, reached agreements with MKs to prevent them from interrupting the US president or demonstrating against him over Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard’s continued incarceration, were Obama to visit the legislature.

“Unfortunately, despite these agreements, which were reported to the Americans, President Obama decided not to visit the Knesset, a decision which is in bad taste,” he said.

The former speaker also protested the reasoning for Obama not visiting the Knesset, which is that in his last visit to Cairo, he did not address the Egyptian parliament.

“Comparisons to Egyptian democracy are unfair,” Rivlin said. “The Knesset is a symbol of Israeli sovereignty, and with all due respect to the president, it cannot be ignored.”

He wondered, “What would happen if an Israeli leader refused to give a speech in Congress, and chose to do it in Princeton University, instead?” On Tuesday, US Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado) wrote a letter to Rivlin, expressing dismay with Obama’s decision not to give a speech in the Knesset.

“It is most unfortunate that the president has decided to bypass the parliament of the State of Israel, reportedly due to concerns over being shown disrespect in any such address,” Lamborn wrote. “As you are well aware, previous presidents, both Democratic and Republican, have not hesitated to speak before the Knesset.”

Lamborn added that it is “unfathomable why President Obama should break with such a traditional norm during his first visit to the Jewish state as president.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN

Cookie Settings