MK Eli Yishai
MK Eli Yishai Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Chairman of Yachad-Ha'am Itanu, Eli Yishai defended Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's right Sunday to give a planned speech before a joint session of the United States Congress. 

Addressing the recent controversy over the speech -  which was not coordinated with the White House - Yishai denounced detractors both in Israel and the United States. 

"I call on the US administration to see Israel as a Western country that is under threat, not as a country in the midst of elections, and allow the Prime Minister to address Congress." 

"It is too bad American government officials are choosing to intervene in Israeli elections," Yishai seethed. 

"When Iran is a second and a half away from becoming a real nuclear threat, the Prime Minister does not need the pretext of elections to speak to Congress on behalf of the country most affected by that threat," Ha'am-Itanu's Chairman continued. 

"Before Netanyahu was a candidate in upcoming elections, he was the Prime Minister of Israel," Yishai stressed. 

Yishai's comments come after yet another politician issued Netanyahu a stinging rebuke for the speech scheduled for early March. 

During journalist Kalman Liebskind's radio program on Galey Israel Sunday morning, MK Nachman Shai (Labor) claimed Netanyahu is responsible for the controversy surrounding the speech. 

"If American want to hear Israel's position on the upcoming agreement between Iran and the United - whether it's good or it's bad - why should it be done from the House [of Representatives] podium?" Shai charged. 

"It's not the place to express a professional opinion. You [Netanyahu] can go the US and do a closed meeting. You could send experts in your place. But you going is like pissing off a diving board. You just don't do it." 

"Netanyahu will bear the brunt of responsibility and damage for this performance. We're not being dragged there, but if it happens, we must give our opinions and inform them to the public," Shai concluded. 

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