Rivlin: The air is ready to explode

President warns of danger of current sectarian strife at opening of Knesset winter session.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Rivlin addresses Knesset
Rivlin addresses Knesset
Yaniv Danav/Knesset spokesperson

The winter session for the 23rd Knesset began Monday following the high holidays.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin addressed the opening ceremony, beginning with a prayer from the nearly 2,000 Israelis who have died from the coronavirus since the pandemic began.

"I was moved by the way we stood side by side in the fight against the virus. The people of Israel understood the magnitude of the hour, mobilized and paid a heavy personal, economic, religious, mental and cultural price, and only to get through this difficult time. Unfortunately, as the crisis deepened, the disputes deepened. I did not imagine in my mind how strong this rift would be between us," Rivlin said.

The president warned that sectarian strife is tearing Israel apart.

“Friends, I feel the air is full of gunpowder. I feel the fury that is flooding the streets. But it is unacceptable that night after night, protesters beat protesters, police beat protesters, protesters throw rocks at police. Accusations are directed from sector to sector, from tribe to tribe. Please stop. This is not the way. There must be room for pain. There is no cry that is not worthy of being heard. Only by recognizing and listening to each other can we face the crisis that has befallen us,” Rivlin said.

"We seem to have lost the compass that has accompanied us in the development of the state to this day. The compass of principles and fundamental values ​​that we are committed to upholding. We must look ahead. Forward in the short term and forward in the long term. The plague is here with us to stay, and we can't deal with it with our hands tied behind our backs," he added.

Rivlin also called for the swift passage of the state budget for 2021.

"For two years now, the State of Israel has been running without a budget, the education system has not been able to formulate a clear direction for tackling the distance learning challenge, and many students are left behind, the digital divide is widening, and we may lose the next generation. Do not let the welfare systems collapse, in the face of youth without a framework, in the face of brutal violence against women, in the face of lonely elderly people, in the face of growing poverty. Take care of them today. Take care of them now. Businesses are collapsing, unemployment is high, the deficit is growing, and the medical system is kneeling under the burden of morbidity. Pass a budget now, and allow the Israeli economy the basic stability that it needs," Rivlin told the assembled MKs.