JERUSALEM, March 13 (UPI) -- Israel's Knesset speaker canceled a visit of members to the United States following Washington's refusal to grant a visa to Knesset member Michael Ben-Ari.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin decided to cancel the visit of a delegation of Knesset members to the U.S. Congress at the end of the month after the U.S. State Department refused to grant a visa to Ben-Ari, a student of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, The Jerusalem Post said.
Ben-Ari considers himself one of Kahane's disciples, the newspaper said. Israel banned Kahane's Kach party in 1988 for racism and the U.S. State Department declared the party a terrorist organization in 1994.
"The U.S. claim that an MK is a terrorist is unacceptable and disrespects the entire Knesset," the paper quoted Rivlin saying. Rivlin also wrote a letter to U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapira criticizing the move, saying Ben-Ari is an elected public official.
Knesset members had been scheduled to attend a female empowerment conference attended by female members of Congress at the Israeli embassy in Washington at the end of the month, the paper said.
The U.S. State Department had no comment.