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Meretz chief questions legality of Netanyahu’s US trip

Zahava Gal-on calls on comptroller to investigate PM’s use of Israeli Embassy for personal ‘political interests’

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Meretz leader MK Zahava Galon, June 2013. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Meretz leader MK Zahava Galon, June 2013. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Meretz party leader Zahava Gal-on on Monday called on the state comptroller to investigate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposed trip to the US Congress in March.

Gal-on wants Yosef Shapiro to “check if Prime Minister Netanyahu is making a prohibited use of the Israeli Embassy in Washington for the advancement of his partisan and political interests, and this on the eve of the elections.”

Netanyahu’s trip to Washington has stirred controversy in Israel and abroad.

Some are calling the prime minister’s proposed speech in Washington dangerous, as it could worsen the already strained relationship between Jerusalem and Washington.

Former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren, who is running for Knesset on the Kulanu party list, told Channel 2 Saturday that it was “advisable to cancel the speech to Congress so as not to cause a rift with the American government. Much responsibility and reasoned political behavior are needed to guard interests in the White House.”

Others see Netanyahu’s congressional address as crucial to preventing a nuclear Iran, regardless of the potential discomfort is may cause to US President Barack Obama. Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the US, said the speech was the prime minister’s “sacred duty” in order to halt Iran’s nuclear development.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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