President Trump’s main speech during his visit to Israel took place on Tuesday at the Israel Museum, rather than the Knesset, the parliamentary building where foreign dignitaries usually speak. One possible reason, according to the Speaker of the Knesset: The Israelis couldn’t guarantee that he wouldn’t be interrupted by heckling lawmakers.
As Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein revealed in a tweet on Tuesday: “The topic of Trump’s speech at the Knesset emerged as a first option in discussion but it was made clear to the president’s staff that it was not possible to guarantee a speech without interruptions, and that is how it fell off the agenda. Sad!”
הנושא של נאום טראמפ בכנסת עלה כאופציה ראשונה בדיונים אך הובהר לצוות הנשיא, שלא יכולים להבטיח נאום ללא הפרעות, ובזה זה ירד מסדר-היום. חבל!— Yuli Edelstein 🇮🇱 (@YuliEdelstein) May 23, 2017
Edelstein made similar remarks in front of a nearly-empty Knesset on Tuesday, according to the Times of Israel: “Due to six or seven [Members of Knesset] for whom 20 seconds’ fame is more important to them than the status of the Knesset, the plenary is empty today.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was heckled by MKs from the majority-Arab party Joint List when he addressed the Knesset in 2014.