Netanyahu: It’s a ‘disgrace’ that Arab lawmakers are boycotting Pence

It’s “a disgrace that MKs intend to boycott this important visit to the Knesset and are even seeking to disrupt it,” Netanyahu said of the Arab MK’s intentions. 

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Israeli-Arab lawmakers for their decision to boycott Vice President Mike Pence’s address at the Knesset on Monday.

Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Arab Joint List, said that his 15 party members will boycott the speech in protest of President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last month.

On Saturday, Odeh tweeted in Hebrew that Pence “is a dangerous man with a messianic vision, which includes the destruction of the entire region. He is coming as an emissary of an even more dangerous man: a political pyromaniac, a racist and a misogynist who must be prevented from trailblazing into our region. The entire Joint List will be boycotting his speech in the plenum.”

In response, Netanyahu said Sunday that he viewed “it as a disgrace that MKs intend to boycott this important visit to the Knesset and are even seeking to disrupt it. We will all be there and will show Vice President Pence the great respect that he is due.”

In his remarks during the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that “this evening a great friend of the State of Israel will arrive in Israel, a true friend, US Vice President Mike Pence. We will welcome him. I am very much looking forward to our discussions.”

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Netanyahu said that topics of discussion will include the Trump administration’s efforts to block Iran’s aggression and the Iranian nuclear program, and “advancing security and peace in the region.”

Responding to statements by the Palestinians that the US is no longer a qualified broker in the diplomatic process following Trump’s Jerusalem recognition, Netanyahu said that “whoever truly aspires to realize these goals knows that there is no substitute for US leadership.”

Israel’s growing economic strength

Netanyahu returned from a successful visit in India last week.

Remarking on the six-day state visit, he thanked his “friend,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “for the exceptionally strong and warm reception. It reflects the closer ties between us, very close, as well as the closer ties between our countries and peoples. This is a visit that will be long-remembered. It contributed, and will yet contribute, to Israel in the economic, security, technology and diplomatic spheres.”

Later this week, the Israeli premier will travel to the economic forum in Davos to lecture about the Israeli economy.

“It is important to understand, you saw this on my visit to India, Narendra Modi said so clearly, Israel is a global technological power,” Netanyahu said in his remarks. “We are cultivating this true strength and are promoting it in many forums. This forum is the main global economic forum.”

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Netanyahu is slated to meet at the conference with a several heads of state and of major corporations. “They are no less important today,” Netanyahu said of the corporate heads.

“Of course, I will represent our national interests in all of these meetings,” he stated.