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Speaker earlier said recess, renovations, made it impossible

After rebuff, Zelensky to address Knesset members in coming days, says speaker

Date for speech via Zoom to be finalized; Ukrainian leader reportedly also asks to address Yad Vashem, museum says it will look into the matter

In this image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office and posted on Facebook, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
In this image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office and posted on Facebook, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is slated to address the Israeli parliament via Zoom in the coming days, according to Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy.

Levy said on Thursday that he spoke with Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk to reiterate his invitation to Zelensky to address members of the Knesset.

Korniychuk and Levy have agreed to schedule a date for Zelensky’s address in the coming days, the statement said.

Zelensky had first asked to address the full Knesset plenum, but Levy responded that the Knesset would be going on recess after its closing session on Thursday, and the building was then scheduled for renovations, according to reports.

“The ambassador thanked Speaker Levy for his welcoming response to his letter and for publicly clarifying and refuting the false information published in the press, that allegedly argued that the speaker refused President Zelensky’s request to address members of the Knesset,” the statement said.

Zelensky has given similar speeches to officials and lawmakers in the United Kingdom, European Union, and Canada.

However, hurdles reportedly remain. Asked by Korniychuk to ensure that most of the Knesset would be present for the speech, Levy said he could only control members of his own party, but predicted that most coalition members would attend, Israel’s Kan network reported.

According to the report, Levy’s office had feared having Zelensky give the speech to the actual Knesset plenum risked an embarrassing situation if a live broadcast showed a half-empty hall.

Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy seated in the Knesset in Jerusalem, on January 17, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Separately, Reuters reported on Thursday that Zelensky asked to address the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum to discuss Russia’s invasion of his country.

According to the report, Yad Vashem said in a statement that it will discuss the proposal with Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel.

There was no immediate comment from the Ukrainian embassy on the matter.

Relations between Israel and Ukraine have been tense since Russia launched its invasion, as Jerusalem attempts to walk a tightrope between Kyiv and Moscow, and Ukraine has sought more support.

Israel has avoided harshly criticizing Russia, or supporting Ukraine too strongly, because of Russia’s presence in Syria. Israel carries out airstrikes against Iran-linked targets in Syria, with Russia’s understanding, to prevent Iran-backed forces from gaining a foothold on Israel’s northern border.

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