Britain’s Cameron to address Knesset March 12

Visit will be UK prime minister’s first since he was elected in 2010

British Prime Minister David Cameron and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein speak in South Africa in December, 2013. (photo credit: courtesy/Knesset)
British Prime Minister David Cameron and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein speak in South Africa in December, 2013. (photo credit: courtesy/Knesset)

A month after canceling a trip to Israel because of floods at home, British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to address the Knesset March 12, a Knesset spokesperson said Monday.

Cameron had previously been scheduled to visit Israel in mid-February, but was forced to reschedule in order to coordinate relief efforts for areas in the UK affected by devastating floods.

The visit will be the first to Israel for Cameron since he was elected prime minister in 2010.

Cameron told Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein in early December that he would visit Israel sometime in 2014. He also said he would “happily” deliver a speech to the Knesset.

The two spoke at the Nelson Mandela memorial in Johannesburg.

“I welcome the arrival of the prime minister of a great and important country like Britain to address the Knesset and believe that the visit will contribute to the friendship between Britain and Israel as well as the relations between the two countries,” Edelstein said in a statement. “I am also glad that the Knesset will once again take its place as the main stage chosen by the leaders of the world to address the Israeli people.”

In the past year, French President Francois Hollande, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and EU Parliament President Martin Schulz have addressed the Knesset.

Two of those addresses were tinged with controversy. Edelstein reprimanded Hollande and threatened to cancel the invitations of French delegates after the French president announced plans to speak instead at an Israeli university during his November visit despite his pledge to speak in the Knesset. Hollande eventually reversed his plans.

When Schulz addressed the Knesset earlier this month, a number of MKs, including Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, walked out during his speech in response to remarks he made about the disparity in water usage between Israelis and Palestinians.

Joshua Davidovich contributed to this report.

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