President Isaac Herzog
President Isaac HerzogPhoto: IDF

Soon the sanctity of Yom Kippur will be replaced by the mundane day to day. This is a day of soul-searching and forgiveness but also looking ahead.

This special day has accompanied the people of Israel for thousands of years, but in modern times it is also an anniversary that carries with it an additional meaning. The Yom Kippur War, one of the most difficult and painful in Israel's history, changed the country and society, and left many lessons to be learned in its wake.

It is not just about lessons at the political and military level but also about the importance of our resilience and cohesion. This is the time for soul-searching, for learning lessons and for revealing national responsibility. We have learned from the accursed war about the danger that lies in allowing ourselves to become prisoners of paradigms, and also that we must not miss opportunities for cementing “Shalom Bayit”, our own internal peace.

I turn to each and every one of you, my sisters and brothers, and plead: generations upon generations have built a wondrous country and society here. So many have sacrificed for this country, that which they loved most of all. Let's recognize the importance of our common lives here - as one people. Let's rise above the differences, reach out, make every effort to understand, respect, listen and accommodate. Let's respect their dignity and recognize the wonderful virtues of our neighbors, our relatives, and all aspects of life here in Israel. We can reach agreements out of respect for the beliefs of others, for their way of life. Let us keep this day, which is a beautiful and moving day in the Jewish and Israeli calendar, above all of controversy. We will not be ashamed to ask for forgiveness, and no less important - we will not be ashamed to forgive. Let's work together to eradicate hatred and evil from among us and spread a little more love for our fellow Israelis.

My heart on this day, is with the bereaved families who have been living for years under the shadow of the heavy loss, with those held captive, and with the thousands of mentally and physically wounded by the war. In the State of Israel there are many victims of war, for whom Israel's conflicts have left terrible and deep scars. These heroes deserve respect, recognition and tolerance.

I wish to offer strength to all those serving to guard us and care of our safety and well-being - all year round and especially during the holidays and on Yom Kippur. I pray that those wounded in the IDF and the security forces will have a swift and full recovery, among all the sick of Israel.

Let this be an hour of mercy. Gmar Chatima Tova to all the House of Israel.