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PM Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress to receive 5-minute delay in Israel

By Andrew V. Pestano
PM Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress to receive 5-minute delay in Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu belongs to the Likud political party in Israel. File photo by Gali Tibbon/UPI | License Photo

JERUSALEM, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the U.S. Congress will receive a five-minute delay when it is broadcast in Israel.

Israel's Central Election's Committee said on Monday that the delay was declared after opposition groups claimed that Netanyahu's speech constitutes electioneering, particularly since it's so close to the election. Israel has strict laws for the broadcast of election propaganda.

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Netanyahu is scheduled to speak about the dangers of a nuclear-powered Iran to a joint session of Congress on March 3, two weeks before elections in Israel.

Netanyahu is slated to remain as prime minister according to the latest polls.

Likud, Netanyahu's political party, leads the projected number of seats to be gained in the election with 24 compared to the Zionist Union's 23. Third place is a current tie of 12 seats each by Habayit Hayehudi and a joint list of Hadash and Arab parties.

Israel's legislative branch, known as the Knesset, has 120 seats.

Opposition candidates did not want the speech to be broadcast at all. The five-minute delay to ensure that Netanyahu refrains from electioneering and using partisan content will be enforced on all television and radio outlets in Israel.

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The controversial speech created a rift in the Jewish community with some pro-Israeli leaders urging Netanyahu to cancel his speech, while some condemn the possibility of a speech boycott.

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