Yad Vashem turns down Gantz request to address international Holocaust remembrance summit

Blue and White leaders reportedly are concerned that Netanyahu will use the Yad Vashem podium to promote his political platform.

By World Israel News Staff 

Diplomacy has collided with politics as the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem plans for an international summit on January 20, marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland.

As Israel approaches the March 2 Knesset election, Blue and White leaders reportedly are concerned that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will use the podium at Yad Vashem to promote his political platform.

According to a Channel 13 report, Blue and White’s concerns prompted the faction to ask Yad Vashem to allow its leader, MK Benny Gantz, to address the gathering as well.

The faction reportedly argues that Netanyahu has used other international gatherings during recent election campaigns as political rallies and therefore the special circumstances should allow Gantz to receive an invitation, even though he is not a national leader.

However, Yad Vashem appears to have rejected the request, stating that the event is international in nature, and therefore Israel should be represented only by the serving prime minister and President Reuven Rivlin.

Blue and White and Netanyahu’s Likud have finished neck-and-neck as the two largest parliamentary factions in Knesset elections in April and September. Both Netanyahu and Gantz have failed to form a government, either separately or jointly.

Now, Israel is going to a third election within a year, as the leaders still try to form a new governing coalition.

Due to the unprecedented Israeli political deadlock, there is no official opposition leader in parliament. Blue and White is said to be promoting the argument that Gantz could fill that role at the summit.

The world leaders scheduled to attend include Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Prince Charles of the United Kingdom.

In all, close to 40 world leaders have confirmed that they will be coming.