Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to deliver a speech to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, via video on Sunday evening, according to local media outlets.
Since the Knesset is currently on its winter recess, steps are being taken to ensure that as many members of the Israeli parliament as possible will be able to attend Zelenskyy's speech at the Knesset. Other lawmakers will log in remotely.
An initial request for Zelenskyy to address the Israeli legislative body was denied last week. Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy initially said he could not convene a special session because the plenary hall is undergoing renovation. But Levy wrote back a day later saying that it would be “an honor to facilitate such an address,” noting that it should be held remotely.
The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday that, in a special meeting with Levy, Russia’s Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov expressed Moscow’s dismay over Israel’s consent to facilitate Zelenskyy’s speech. It is possible that Russia will ask for an invitation for President Vladimir Putin to address the Knesset as well, according to the report.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai suggested that the municipality would broadcast Zelenskyy’s speech at a popular outdoor protest site – Habima Square – so that the Israeli public can hear it live and demonstrate support for the Eastern European nation.
Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center rejected an earlier request for Zelenskyy – who is Jewish – to address a rally there, according to reports. The organization, fearing that comparisons would be drawn between the invasion of Ukraine and the Holocaust, said the venue should not be politicized.
In his ongoing effort to shore up western support for Ukraine, Zelenskyy has addressed several governmental bodies and international organizations from his bunker in Kyiv. He is also very active on social media and holds frequent press conferences.
Speaking to the British Parliament last Tuesday, he invoked Winston Churchill’s famed “never surrender” speech of World War II and quoted Shakespeare saying, “The question for us now is, to be or not to be.”
Earlier this week, Zelenskyy received a lengthy standing ovation from the Canadian parliament after pleading with lawmakers in Ottawa to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
The Ukrainian president will address the U.S. Congress today (Wednesday).
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.