The US sent its president and three former presidents to Tuesday’s memorial service for anti-apartheid hero and former South African president Nelson Mandela. The UK and France sent its prime ministers, as did another nearly 90 countries. Oprah Winfrey and the Dalai Lama were set to attend. Israel, however, came close to sending no one, in a near diplomatic fiasco that started Sunday and developed throughout Monday . . .
The saga began when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who was originally scheduled to attend, decided against it, with his office citing a price tag of millions of shekels for the trip due to security costs. Not only would Netanyahu and his guards require their own plane, another heavy-duty aircraft would have to carry armored cars for him, because the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) could not go to South Africa in advance and make security arrangements.
Netanyahu declined to go to the service a week after coming under fire for spending thousands on scented candles and wine.
It was the biggest gathering of World Leaders outside the United Nations; however, neither Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu nor Israeli President Shimon Peres attended Mandela's Funeral Commemoration in Johannesburg.
They gathered in the tens of thousands -- presidents, prime ministers, royals, celebrities and ordinary South Africans -- all united to say farewell to a man hailed as a global symbol of reconciliation.
In what has been billed as one of the largest gatherings of global leaders in recent history, representatives from around the world joined street sweepers, actors and religious figures to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela.
From President Barack Obama to Cuba's Raul Castro, praise came from all sides in a four-hour memorial service at Johannesburg FNB stadium for the revered statesman, who died Thursday at age 95.
I didn't hear a word about Binyamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres not attending in any Western Media News program I watched.:sad_yes: