The absence of the Arab members of the Knesset from this evening's (Thursday) inauguration ceremony of President Reuven Rivlin did not go unnoticed. Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Zeev Elkin (Likud) did not mince words in his response.
''The decision of Arab Knesset members to boycott the inaugural ceremony is chutzpah, cynicism and hypocrisy combined. They did not hesitate for a moment take part in the vote in order to try and influence the outcome!” Elkin exclaimed.
“Whoever boycotts their president or their country’s military during a time of war of survival against a vile, terrorist organization is not fit to sit in the parliament of that country. It is high time that these traitors leave Israel’s Knesset and go contend with Hamas’ elections in Gaza,” he added.
Deputy Minister of Transportation MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) reacted to the pointed absence of the Arab MK’s saying, “They prefer to support Hamas rather than participate in the ushering in president-elect of the country into office. The State of Israel can no longer tolerate this hypocrisy – their faces turned towards Gaza, and not Jerusalem.”
“He who identifies with the enemy in a time of war is not fit to hold Israeli citizenship, let alone sit in the Israeli Knesset,” she added.
It is to be noted that during his inaugural speech, President Rivlin spoke of his vision – a united Israel society comprised of both Jews and Arabs. “The society we dream of building is made up of all of our citizens: orthodox and secular, Jew and Arab, new immigrant and ‘oldtimer’, all striving together,” he said.
President Rivlin added, “Gentleman, our society, on the one hand, is struggling for its existence, and with the other hand, we strive to reach cooperation, tolerance, and equality – this is what Israel aims towards. We cannot shut our eyes in the face of extremism and violence. It is incumbent upon us to comprehend that silence means we have given up on that dream, and that we have forgotten why we returned to our Homeland."