French President Francois Hollande
French President Francois HollandeAFP photo

Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein cancelled a planned meeting with visiting French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday, in protest of Hollande's decision not to address the Knesset.

Hollande was supposed to visit the Knesset and speak before its members, as is customary when a head of state visits the Israeli parliament. However, after arrangements were made, Edelstein's bureau learned that while the French president intends to visit the Knesset building, he will speak before an audience of students and not before the Knesset Members.

In response, MK Edelstein gave instructions to cancel the official welcoming ceremony that was planned for Hollande and to put cooperation between the Knesset and the French Embassy on hold pending clarification of the matter.

"A person who disrespects the Knesset is not worthy of the Knesset's respect,” he said.

MK Edelstein said that it is unacceptable for international leaders, as well as Israeli ones, to dishonor the Knesset and “ignore” it. “As Knesset Speaker, I am determined to safeguard and protect the dignity of the sovereign – the nation – and that of the nation's elected officials, the public's delegates – the Knesset Members. I will not cooperate with a humiliation of Israeli democracy and turning it into a doormat for stepping on,” he said.