On the insistence of Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he would attend the independence ceremony traditionally held by the Knesset, stirring debate about the politicization of the event. In response, former Shin-Ben director Carmi Gilon urged Israelis to boycott the ceremony if the prime minister delivers a speech.


Netanyahu Photo Credit: Kobi Richter/TPS

Former Shin-Ben director Carmi Gilon has called for Israelis to boycott the speech of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the annual Independence Day ceremony later this month. Netanyahu has recently confirmed he would attend the event, which is traditionally held by Israel’s Knesset.

Netanyahu’s participation has stirred debate among Israeli politicians and the general public, as it is considered to be a largely a-political event and intended to represent all factions of Israeli politics and demographics. The prime minister does not typically attend the event, so as to maintain its neutrality.

On Friday, Gilon called on viewers of the ceremony to change the channel if the prime minister speaks during the event. Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein has also threatened to boycott the event if Netanyahu attends.

In honor of Israel’s 70th anniversary, this year’s Independence Day events will last for about 70 hours, starting on the evening of April 18, when Israel’s memorial day for fallen soldiers and terror victims ends, and wrapping up on Saturday evening. During the torch-lighting ceremony, 12 torches will be lit by a group selected for their contributions to society.