Most of Israel's Opposition Not Invited to U.S. Embassy Opening Gala With Kushner

Beyond the chairman of the opposition and one Arab MK who sits on Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, most lawmaker from the opposition were not invited

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A new road sign indicating the way to the new US embassy in Jerusalem is set up on May 7, 2018.
The embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is expected to occur on May 14. / AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX
A new road sign indicating the way to the new US embassy in Jerusalem is set up on May 7, 2018. The embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is expected to occur on May 14. / AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEXCredit: THOMAS COEX/AFP
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

After the majority of Israeli lawmakers discovered that due to the order of precedence they were not on the list of those invited to the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on Monday – members of the opposition have now learned that most of them will not attend the gala to be held the night before either.

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The event, slated for Sunday night in Jerusalem, will include Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Ambassador David Friedman, U.S. President Donald Trump's adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka, as well as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and a delegation of U.S. lawmakers. Also invited are members of the Israeli government, Knesset members who are on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and all MKs that are members of the ruling coalition.

However, besides chairman of the opposition, MK Isaac Herzog of the Zionist Union, not a single member of the opposition was invited who does not hold a spot on the key committee.

>> Everything you need to know about the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem >>

ההזמנה לטקס קבלת הפנים

Issawi Frej, is apparently the only Arab member of Knesset invited, as he serves on the committee. Other committee members who are from the opposition are Eyal Ben-Reuven, Omer Bar-Lev, Tzipi Livni, Yair Lapid, Amir Peretz, Ofer Shelah and Nachman Shai.

Ahmed Tibi, a lawmaker from the Joint Arab List party, confirmed he was not invited and said "that's good."

Yousef Jabareen, another Arab lawmaker, said he "wasn't invited and of course I will not participate anyway. Relocating the embassy is something to protest, not celebrate. On that day I will be protesting. Jerusalem is the shared capital of the two peoples and any attempt to dictate an alternative reality harms the chances of reaching a peace deal.

>> Jerusalem for dummies part 1: Why the world doesn't recognize it as Israel's capital ■ Jerusalem for dummies, part 2: What the Palestinians want

At least three "U.S. Embassy" road signs went up in Jerusalem on Monday ahead of next week's opening of the mission in the city, a Reuters witness said.

The signs, in English, Hebrew and Arabic, were installed by workmen close to the south Jerusalem location of a U.S. consulate building that will be repurposed as the embassy when it is officially relocated on May 14 from Tel Aviv.

"This is not a dream - it's reality! This morning, I am proud and excited to install the first signs for the U.S. embassy, which will open next week in Jerusalem," Mayor Nir Barkat posted on Facebook, adding "I thank President Trump for making this historic moment come to fruition."

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Saturday that relocating the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem will "will come at a price," but added that it was a price "worth paying."

"Nothing comes for free," the defense chief said, "and the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem will come at a price and it is worth paying it. We should be prepared to pay a price."

U.S. President Donald Trump said last month that he still "may go" to the ceremony in Jerusalem celebrating the opening of the American embassy, and bragged about saving money by rejecting an initial proposal to devote $1 billion for the construction of a new embassy, and replacing it with a significantly more moderate plan costing close to $400,000 instead.

Kushner and Ivanka Trump are expected to represent the U.S. administration at the opening ceremony, Israeli officials confirmed last month. American senators and members of the House of Representatives will attend, too. 

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