Israeli president digs at Netanyahu’s speech to U.S. Congress

Israelis were 'tired and fed up' of 'attempts to drug them with satire and stardom,' the president said

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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday appeared to criticize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s intention to speak to U.S. Congress next month– the most important of his reelection campaign, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv on Sunday night, Rivlin said he was generally against “shallow” campaign tactics, although his remarks were interpreted at being aimed at Netanyahu.

“I believe that if we consider it fitting, to speak on the international stage about the dangers lurking and threats we face, all the more so, we should be talking directly, patiently and in Hebrew to our citizens at home,” Rivlin said, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post.

Israelis were “tired and fed up” of “attempts to drug them with satire and stardom,” said Rivlin. Instead, people were searching for “leadership driven by content and values that is able to make decisions,” he added.

Controversial speech

Meanwhile on Sunday, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner on Sunday accused the White House of “animosity” towards Netanyahu’s planned speech before Congress, which has stirred up a political furor in both countries.

“There’s no secret here in Washington about the animosity that this White House has for Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Boehner told the Fox News Sunday television program, adding, “frankly, I didn’t want them getting in the way.”

U.S. President Barack Obama has refused to meet Netanyahu during his Washington trip next month, saying diplomatic protocol forbids him from doing so, since Netanyahu is running for re-election on March 17.

The two leaders have had a famously frosty relationship, which has grown even more tense as a result of the disagreement over Netanyahu's upcoming speech.

Netanyahu has vowed - despite the presidential snub and pushback from Congressional Democrats - to deliver his speech to Congress as the U.S. and world powers toward the political outline of a nuclear deal with by March 31.

(With AFP)