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France's Hollande visit sparks turmoil in Israel

French President Francois Hollande refuses making speech in Knesset; Israel cancels ceremony in his honor in return

AP , Wednesday 30 Oct 2013
Hollande
France's President Francois Hollande, left, and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attending a joint news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, 31 October, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)
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Israel's parliament speaker angrily has canceled a ceremony planned for French President Francois Hollande after the French leader allegedly called off an upcoming speech to the body.

The speaker, Yuli Edelstein, made the announcement Wednesday in a post on his Facebook page. He wrote: "Whoever disparages the honor of the Knesset is not worthy of the Knesset's respect."

A spokesman for Edelstein said the Knesset was notified of the cancellation this week. Hollande was to be honored in a ceremony at the Knesset as part of his visit.

Sonia Barbry, a spokeswoman for the French Embassy in Tel Aviv, said Hollande's itinerary is not yet finalized and called the reaction "premature."

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