Photo Credit: Isaac Harari / Flash 90
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein lights a torch during the final rehearsal for the Israeli 67th Independence Day Ceremony at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on April 20, 2015.

by Andrew Friedman

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will light a torch “as a representative of generations of Israeli governments” as part of the opening ceremony for Israel’s 70th Independence Day celebration next and will address the ceremony on the topic of Israel’s Declaration of Independence, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement Tuesday.

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A spokesperson for Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein told TPS that Edelstein had rescinded his threat to boycott the event if Netanyahu was allowed to deliver remarks.

Long-standing protocol has limited government representation at the ceremony to the sitting Speaker of the House, but Culture Minister Miri Regev, a close ally of the prime minister who is also charged with organizing the annual ceremony, had tried in recent weeks to insert Netanyahu into the proceedings.

“Netanyahu will light a torch and will say a few words, but he will not deliver a speech,” Edelstein’s office said. “In contrast, the Speaker will deliver a full-length address.”

Netanyahu’s office added that Regev plans to ask the State Symbols and Ceremonies Committee to enshrine in standing protocol the practice of lighting an Independence Day torch for the sitting prime minister every 10 years.

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