Israeli top leaders not attending Mandela funeral

JERUSALEM Mon Dec 9, 2013 11:25pm IST

Related Topics

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Neither Israel's prime minister nor president will attend South Africa's commemorations of the late Nelson Mandela this week, officials said, a notable absence at events expected to draw more than 70 world leaders.

Palestinians, who hail South Africa's first black leader as an inspiration in a conflict with what they call Israeli "apartheid", will be represented by President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who praised Mandela as "a freedom fighter who rejected violence", will not attend Tuesday's ceremony in Johannesburg due to the costs of travel and security, aides said. President Shimon Peres, who is 90, had been advised by his doctors not to make the trip.

"The president is recovering from flu and doctors advised him not to fly," a spokesman for Peres said.

The foreign ministry said Yuli Edelstein, speaker of Israel's parliament, would attend instead.

Like Mandela, Peres is a winner of the Nobel peace prize. As defence minister in the 1970s, he was also involved in military and trade ties with South Africa's white rulers. In 2010, he denied a newspaper report that Israel had offered to provide the apartheid state with nuclear weapons in 1975. (Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Ralph Boulton)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ebola Outbreak

REUTERS SHOWCASE

School Shooting

School Shooting

Two killed, four wounded in Washington state school shooting.  Full Article 

Mideast Crisis

Mideast Crisis

Kurds reject Erdogan report of deal with Syrian rebels to aid besieged Kobani.  Full Article 

Canada Shooting

Canada Shooting

Canada vows tougher laws as citizens worry in face of attacks.  Full Article 

"Unilateral Diktat"

"Unilateral Diktat"

Putin accuses United States of damaging world order.  Full Article 

Nuclear Threat

Nuclear Threat

U.S. general says he believes N. Korea can build nuclear warhead.  Full Article 

Hatchet Attack

Hatchet Attack

NYC police say hatchet attack by Islam convert was terrorism.  Full Article 

Bollywood World

Bollywood World

Read stories and reviews Bollywood films.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage