Netanyahu’s Congress speech to be broadcast in Israel with delay

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress will be broadcast in Israel on a five minute delay.

The delay ordered Monday by Israel’s Central Election Committee Chairman Justice Salim Joubran will allow news editors to remove campaign propaganda before it is aired.

The delay decision comes after a petition filed by the left-wing Meretz party asking the Central Election Committee to prevent media outlets from broadcasting the speech, saying it was illegal campaigning.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein ruled last week that the speech could be broadcast in Israel without violating election propaganda laws because it is newsworthy and a current event.

Israel’s national elections are scheduled for two weeks after the speech, on March 17.

The speech has caused controversy both in the United States and at home for Netanyahu. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have said they will not meet with Netanyahu, citing the Israeli elections two weeks later as making such a meeting inappropriate.