(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein told the country’s Central Elections Committee on Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to the U.S. Congress has significant news value and that broadcasting it in Israel does not constitute illegal election propaganda.
Weinstein’s decision was made in response to an appeal by Meretz leader Zahava Gal-On to the Central Elections Committee to prohibit the speech, which Gal-On claimed was a violation of Israel’s election propaganda law. The Israeli Knesset elections take place March 17, two weeks after Netanyahu’s speech.
“An examination of the planned speech reveals that there is no reason to prevent its broadcast to begin with,” read Weinstein’s decision. “It is a speech by the prime minister about the Iranian nuclear issue to be made at a time that correlates with the external [negotiations] schedule related to the issue.”
“In preparation for his trip, the prime minister was given a detailed legal guide from the legal department at the Prime Minister’s Office, including instructions and prohibitions relating to elections law, to ensure that his speech, like all of his other speeches made during the election period, will not constitute illegal election propaganda,” Weinstein added.
Meanwhile, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud)—who recently returned from a visit to the U.S., where he met with numerous American political officials—predicted that “90 percent of Democrats will be present for Netanyahu’s speech to the joint session of Congress.” Some Democrats, including Vice President Joe Biden, have been officially announcing that they will not attend the address. The White House opposes the speech on the grounds that House Speaker John Boehner did not consult Obama about inviting Netanyahu. But the prime minister insists that he must give the speech because Israel’s survival is threatened by a bad nuclear deal between Iran and its Western negotiating partners, including the U.S.