Isaac Herzog
Isaac HerzogAvi Ohayon/GPO

Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Friday urged Israelis to show restraint and respect, and refrain from disrupting holiday prayers and dancing.

Herzog, who grew up in a non-religious neighborhood in Tel Aviv, described his childhood experience of holiday "hakafot" dancing as "joyful and unifying," filled with "love and mutual respect."

"There were many thousands just like us, all around Israel," he recalled. "These were true, honest, events which drew us closer together. ... I always felt that this was a deep and connecting part of our national and personal identity."

Recalling the horrific clashes on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), Herzog noted that this year, "we experienced, with great pain, a number of incidents in which prayers were prevented - incidents which scorched our hearts and which were unthinkable, inconceivable."

"Ahead of the hakafot which we will hold this evening and tomorrow all around Israel, I turn to you, the citizens of Israel, with a personal request: Act with consideration, with acceptance, with respect and a love of Israel during the hakafot and in general. Allow all of us, together, the feeling of holiday and joy. Without provocations, without disturbances, without fighting."

"Let's decide: Enough with the raised voices, enough with the raised hands! On Simchat Torah, we must put aside our disagreements and return to the pure and unmarred joy of beginning a new year."