Rivlin at Basheva Conference
Rivlin at Basheva ConferenceScreenshot

President of Israel Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Sunday, delivered remarks at the Basheva Group’s 18th Jerusalem Conference held at ICC Jerusalem (Binyanei Ha’Uma) in accordance with the corona guidelines. This year’s conference is entitled “Judaism, state, economy, modernity.”

“This is the last year I will come to this conference as president and I would like to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for this special platform, for the attentiveness there is here to the range and plurality of Israeli voices it holds,” said the president. “The Israeli media suffered for many years from being one-dimensional. Many spoke, broadcasted and wrote but the voice was almost always from the same set of values and the perspective was insufficiently rich and broad. At its outset, and the younger people here may well not know what I am talking about, the Hebrew songs on Arutz Sheva burst on to the airwaves. These songs connected Deganya to Beit El, the beaches of Tel Aviv to the hills of Etzion. And so Basheva created connections in Israeli society, and Basheva created connections between the sectors and tribes of the State of Israel, and between the State of Israel and the global Jewish community. For this, we will forever be indebted to Rabbi and Rabbabnit Melamed, to Katzaleh, and to many others who worked with them and taught the Israeli media a lesson in modesty.”

Speaking about the elections, the president said, “Next week, Israelis will once again go to the polls. This time, they will not go with smiles on their faces, celebrating the day of the citizen in an active and open democracy. They will go unwillingly, because four elections in less than two years is an indication of the crisis in which Israeli democracy finds itself. The symptoms of this crisis are harsh. We have no budget, and without a budget we are all harmed, particularly the weakest, in the fields of health, welfare, education and more. Worse, the crisis erodes public confidence in the Knesset, the government and the parties. It harms our ability to work together in partnership and mutual respect, including with those who do not think like we do.”

He continued, “At the beginning of the corona crisis, our politicians asked the people to join a national effort to stop the virus together. But they themselves failed in the principal task of ensuring political stability during this war against the disease that knows no boundaries. In my ‘four tribes’ speech, I warned of the ‘zero-sum game’ in relations between the different tribes in the State of Israel. I said we had to work together, to be flexible where we could, to give up on what we could, but for each of us to stand firm on the things that were important to us, on our key issues.”

“As opposed to the political system, Israeli society proves day by day, hour by hour that it is capable of creating connections and partnerships. In the health system, the education system and even the security establishment, Israelis have learned to work together, to learn together, to serve in national-civilian service together – Jews and Arabs, secular, religious and ultra-Orthodox, left and right. That is how things should have been in the Knesset and the government, too. We cannot allow politics to remain a zero-sum game. ‘All or nothing’ politics are self-destructive. Nobody knows what the results will be, but one thing should be clear: we have to get back to a politics of compromise that signifies stateliness and partnership, respecting the people as a whole,” he said at the end of his remarks.”