President Shimon Peres addressed new MKs on Tuesday as the 19th Knesset began its work. Forty-eight people are serving as MKs for the first time.
“Members of Knesset, a storm rages around us," Peres said. "In the Arab world a young generation has risen who has had enough of being subjugated and they have rebelled. They have yet to achieve their aims. This is a new development. And we wish them success," he added.
“On the other hand, Iran has become an increasing threat,” he warned. “It threatens our existence.”
“America is the only country that can put an end to the Iranian threat, and I believe the United States President is determined to do so,” he added.
Peres mentioned the ongoing bloodshed in Syria as well. “Iran is a danger, and Syria is a tragedy,” he stated. “Its president is slaughtering his people. The UN must, in my opinion, give the Arab League a mandate to immediately establish a transitional government in Syria that will save Syria from self-destruction.”
In addition to the challenges it faces due to tumult in the Middle East, Israel faces socio-economic challenges, he said. “We must come to terms with a reality in which 900,000 children lack food, and hundreds of thousands are disadvantaged when it comes to education,” he declared.
The government must find a way to tackle the deficit, he said. “Getting out of the deficit will require broad political agreement and cooperation between the three components of the economy: the government, workers and employers,” he said. “It will be hard to reach this agreement, but it would be dangerous not to.”