PM to accept bouquet of Christian friendship flowers on Sun.
Most of 14,000 roses pledged to go to charity, IDF.
By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office will accept a symbolic bouquet of yellow roses on Sunday from Christian friends in the United States who were upset about the treatment he received three weeks ago in the White House from US President Barack Obama.Representatives of the Christians who pledged the flowers said last week that Netanyahu’s office had declined to accept them, because his advisers were concerned about offending Obama at such a sensitive time, but the Prime Minister’s Office denied this.Over the past week a compromise was reached whereby the Prime Minister’s Office would accept one bouquet out of 1,200 pledged, and the rest of the 14,000 flowers would be donated to social service organizations in Jerusalem over the weekend, and to IDF soldiers on Remembrance Day for Fallen Soldiers and on Independence Day.The controversy began when Florida-based radio host and author Janet Porter was so incensed by what she thought was Obama’s inappropriate behavior when he hosted Netanyahu in the White House three weeks ago, that she called upon her listeners to give Netanyahu yellow roses to symbolize friendship, with each bouquet costing a symbolic price of $19.48.The response was overwhelming as Christian supporters of Israel went to the Web site of Porter’s Faith2action organization and ordered the flowers, which will be accompanied by a card with the words “Be encouraged, Americans stand with you,” and a quote from Psalms: “The Lord builds up Jerusalem.”Porter contacted respected Beit Shemesh-based florist Richard Kovler, who called the appropriate Netanyahu adviser about how to deliver the flowers. He said he had been told that the Prime Minister’s Office could not get involved, because Netanyahu must be very careful to avoid anything that smacked of disrespect for the president.The Prime Minister’s Office released a statement Tuesday denyingKovler’s version of events. The statement said the office would bepleased to receive the flowers in accordance with required securityprocedures and would donate them to charity.AdvertisementRepresentatives ofthe Christians complained Thursday night that the delivery to the PrimeMinister’s Office had been made conditional on preventing photographersfrom attending. They said Netanyahu’s advisers insisted on the flowersbeing delivered “like a thief in the night.”But Netanyahu’sassociates said the real reason the delivery could not be photographedwas that the prime minister received many gifts, and since it was notpossible to allow the press to photograph all the deliveries, the PrimeMinister’s Office policy was not to allow the press to photograph anyof them.
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