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svgadminsvgJanuary 19, 2016svgNews

Netanyahu: We will remain in Israel forever

The Knesset celebrated its 67 years of establishment as well as the jubilee year of its Givat Ram building with an “Open House” for the general public all day Tuesday. 

Visitors met with about 80 Knesset members and engaged in various different activities, games, workshops, and discussions. 

As guests built their own versions of the Knesset building out of legs or listened to MKs read children’s book to young visitors, they were also serenaded with the strains of MK Tali Ploskov (Kulanu) and Stav Shaffir’s (Zionist Union) piano playing. 

Later in the afternoon, the government held a special meeting featuring speeches from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog. 

“Millions of citizens send their elected representatives to this place, and it seem time and again, they are disappointed,” Edelstein began. “Beyond specific affairs, there is probably something in the atmosphere we need to purify.”

“These feelings express [the thoughts] of hundreds of citizens who turn to me all the time,” he continued. “They are angry about the shape of the debate, about how [bad] behavior and speech are visible in broadcasts and reports.”

“They are angry and worried when they see our conduct here,” Edelstein asserted, noting that while the public was more concerned about legislation and reforms in the past, today they place greater emphasis on “the respect of the Knesset and the behavior of its members.”

Edelstein urged Knesset members to refrain from “provocations and verbal blows,” and rather engage in “sharp, incisive dialogue being conducted with mutual respect, attentiveness and constant understanding.”

President Rivlin addressed rifts in Israeli society, arguing that despite its lack of a constitution, the representatives of the Jewish state were responsible for finding a way toward “partnership and understanding.”

“You sit here, not only representatives of the public, you are also leaders,” Rivlin declared. “We all know only too well how threatening and disruptive the dynamic and experience of the zero-sum game between sectors of Israeli society can be, whether it is a dispute over funding, or over military or civilian service.” 

“Even if we do not have a constitution, precisely even though we find it difficult to think of one, we must, you must, pave the way to partnership and understanding between us, between all groups in Israeli society.” 

“Don’t anchor it in law, but interpret it together, gently and respectfully, even if there are disagreements,” he added.

Netanyahu also addressed the gathering, stressing that despite ongoing incitement from Palestinian leadership, the Jewish people will not be uprooted from their land. 

“The Palestinian’s incitement against us – including among top officials of the Palestinian leadership – has no stop,” Netanyahu charged. “They do not educate their people with peace and reconciliation, but feed them illusions of returning to the 1948 border – to Haifa, Yafo, Acco and Tzfat in place of the Jews.”

“Here lies the root cause of the conflict – the Palestinians consistently refuse to recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people,” he continued. “This is not a territorial dispute over territories or settlements; something like that we might be able to solve. The root of the conflict is the very existence of Israel and the desire to wipe us off the face of the earth.”

“This is, of course, a false hope, because we will remain here forever,” Netanyahu stressed. “No one is displacing us from our land and we will continue to build and protect it.”


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