The acting Knesset speaker and his predecessor have both suggested to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he encourage U.S. President Barack Obama to speak at the Knesset during his visit to Israel in March. Benyamin Ben-Eliezer and Reuven Rivlin both said that it was important for Obama to address Israel and its lawmakers and that there was no better place to do that than the Knesset, Israel’s parliamentary house.
“The people of Israel are certainly eager to hear the President of the United States talking to them directly and there is no more appropriate arena than the Knesset for the U.S. President to speak. I would like to invite President Obama to speak in the Knesset as previous U.S. presidents have done in the past. I believe that such a move, a direct speech to the people of Israel from the Knesset, goes far beyond the ceremonial meaning, and that this particular visit will be very important,” said Ben Eliezer.
Rivlin further added: “If President Obama wants to talk to the people of Israel, he can only do it from the Knesset podium. All the world leaders who have arrived in Israel, including the previous presidents of the United States and Egyptian President (Anwar) Sadat visited the Knesset on the understanding that the Knesset is the parliament of the people of Israel and the source of strength and power of the State of Israel as a democratic state.”
Tuesday it was announced that Obama plans to visit Israel, the West Bank and Jordan during a spring tour of the Middle East.