WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rep. John Boehner, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, said he plans to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress.
"It will be a great honor for Congress to welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu next month as part of his official visit to the United States,” Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement. “America and Israel are the closest of friends and allies, and we look forward to hearing the prime minister’s views on how we can continue working together for peace, freedom, and stability.”
Boehner said the visit would be timed for May, when Netanyahu is expected to visit Washington to speak to the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference.
The Prime Minister’s Office has hinted that Netanyahu will unveil at that time a new peace proposal aimed at drawing the Palestinian Authority back into direct talks, which it abandoned in September because of Netanyahu’s refusal to extend a partial freeze on settlement building.
Boehner must submit his request to the House and U.S. Senate for approval.
Netanyahu addressed Congress once before, in 1996. Other Israeli prime ministers who have addressed Congress include the late Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Ehud Olmert.