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      ‘Israel Thirsts to Hear Obama Directly’

      Acting Knesset head calls for US President Obama to speak in Knesset. ‘The nation thirsts to hear him.’
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 2/6/2013, 1:54 PM

      U.S. President Barack Obama
      U.S. President Barack Obama
      Flash 90

      Acting Knesset head Binyamin (Fouad) Ben-Eliezer has asked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to urge United States President Barack Obama to address the Knesset during his upcoming visit to Israel.

      “The nation of Israel definitely thirsts to hear the United States President speak to them directly,” he argued. “There is no more appropriate venue than the Knesset for the U.S. President to speak.”

      “I believe that this act, of a direct address to Israel in the Knesset assembly… during this visit, specifically, would carry tremendous importance,” he added.

      MK Reuven Rivlin, speaker of the last Knesset, agreed. “The Knesset is the arena of debate and decision-making, and as such is the only place to present diplomatic initiatives and any process with serious implications for the state of Israel,” he said.

      “An appeal to the Israeli public, even from heads of friendly countries, should be made from the Knesset podium,” he said. Members of the Knesset “will doubtless know how to show respect,” he added.

      The White House has confirmed that Obama is planning his first trip to Israel since being elected president in March. He will also visit Jordan and the Palestinian Authority’s seat of power in Ramallah.

      Obama is expected to focus on reviving diplomatic talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.