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Hollande agenda change for Israel visit creates diplomatic crisis

January 30, 2014 at 10:00 am

The French President’s cancellation of a speech to the Israeli Knesset has created a diplomatic crisis. In return, reported Yedioth Ahronoth, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein has decided to boycott events during Francois Hollande’s 3-day visit to Israel next month.

Sources at the Élysée Palace said that the change in Hollande’s agenda for the visit has been made so that he can address the whole nation in a public speech at a major university, which is what Barack Obama did earlier this year. They added that the president still plans to visit the Knesset and meet Edelstein, who was, it is claimed, “outraged” at the idea that a foreign head of state should visit parliament but not speak to members.

“If the president will not speak to Knesset members,” Edelstein told the French Embassy, “then he should not visit the Knesset at all.” He cancelled his own scheduled meeting with Hollande.

According to Yedioth Ahronoth, the Knesset Speaker has given an order that the French ambassador and other French officials visiting Israel must not be received formally or invited to official gatherings “until further notice”. He cited Hollande’s “offence” to parliament as the reason.