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Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.(Photo by: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Knesset speaker to MKs: Don’t embarrass Israel, show up for Pence speech
By LAHAV HARKOV
12/18/2017
Three days ahead of the US vice president's address to the Knesset, Edelstein tells MKs it is vital they attend.
Lawmakers should make sure to be present for US Vice President Mike Pence’s speech, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein wrote in a letter to MKs on Monday, three days before the planned address.

“The success of the event is on each and every one of you,” he said. “I expect you to make every effort and come to the special meeting.”

Explaining that the event is of great importance and is meant to show the warm relations between Israel and the US, Edelstein expressed concern that the media will end up writing more about how empty the plenum was than about the speech itself.

“The presence of all MKs at this meeting is important like no other,” Edelstein wrote. “Those who are absent will hurt the Knesset’s image, express disrespect for the vital interests of the State of Israel and no less severe, will disappoint the citizens of Israel who sent you to this house.”

According to Edelstein, Israeli citizens will be watching on Thursday to see “if we will respect our position and fill the plenum or if we will once again have to see embarrassing pictures of the empty hall.”

In a meeting with his deputies earlier on Monday, Edelstein said: “I don’t understand how people could not come to hear the American vice president.”

Last week, the Joint List announced that it plans to boycott Pence’s speech.

Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh said the snub is meant “to relay a clear message to the government in the US and the world that there are citizens here who firmly oppose Trump’s declaration, and to clarify that the US lost its role as sole mediator in negotiations. West Jerusalem will be recognized by the world as the capital of Israel right after the Israeli government recognizes east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.”

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