Report: Netanyahu to skip Independence Day torch-lighting

Security precautions make PM speech at annual Independence Day torch-lighting on Mt. Herzl untenable.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Haim Zach, GPO

Tensions have been brewing between the office of Culture Minister Miri Regev and the offices of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelsetin over Regev's proposed changes to the torch-lighting ceremony for Israel's Independence Day next year.

Regev's change to the ceremony included a speech by the prime minister in addition to the usual speech by the Knesset Speaker. The idea behind the initiative was to turn the torch-lighting ceremony into a major state event, attended by heads of state from around the world, and to make it the main ceremony of the country's celebrations of its 70th anniversary next year.

However, News 2 reported Thursday that the prime minister had decided to reject the initiative and not to speak at the torch-lighting ceremony.

The decision was made after a security debate revealed that if foreign heads of state came to the event, security would make it difficult for thousands of visitors to visit Mount Herzl on Israel's Memorial Day, which takes place the day before Israel's Independence Day.

Instead of participating actively in the torch-lighting ceremony, Prime Minister Netanyahu is expected to hold a separate reception with world leaders who will come to Israel to participate in the 70th anniversary celebrations.