Rivlin Mark Neiman, GPO

President Reuven Rivlin delivered a statement to the nation this evening, Wednesday, in light of the coronavirus.

He called on citizens to obey emergency regulations for dealing with the virus.

"We are in complex and difficult times for Israel’s leaders, Israeli society and as part of the family of nations. This evening, further emergency regulations came into force that limit our freedom of movement, our liberty, in a way that has never happened before, all for our well-being, all for the welfare of those dearest to us. At a time when here, in the State of Israel, we are burying our dead simply, holding weddings without guests, closing yeshivot and synagogues, schools and universities; in these moments of crisis, we must also learn the art of obedience," Rivlin said.

"To follow the instructions of the Ministry of Health, to follow the instructions of the government, to follow the instructions of the emergency and rescue forces. Even if we criticize the instructions, and even if we think they are wrong, we must listen to them and carry them out.

"We must follow obey, and do what is asked of us.

"I appeal to you, my fellow Israeli citizens: our lives depend on it, our lives depend on it."

Rivlin also directed criticism at the conduct of outgoing Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.

"My fellow citizens, obedience and listening to instructions is not the duty of Israeli citizens alone. In these fateful days, the are also the primary duty of the elected officials, the public’s leaders, teachers and guides, from all parts of society. We are witnessing confrontations of the most severe kind between the judiciary and the legislature.

"And yet, despite the deep fissure between the camps and despite the ferocious rhetoric between the sides, I know that the vast majority of Israel’s leadership, from left and from right, knows that it is the duty of every one of us to obey the rulings of the courts, and that it is inconceivable that anyone would not do so.

"And even if someone is of the opinion that the court is wrong in its conduct, whatever the disagreement between us, we must always ensure that the rules of democracy, without which we are destroyed, are upheld. Now that the Speaker of the Knesset has resigned, I am sure that the order of the High Court of Justice will be implemented and Israeli democracy will emerge strengthened and more resilient from these testing times.

Rivlin called on Netanyahu and Gantz to form a unity government.

"My dear ones, this is a time of trouble for Israel. I appeal to you from here, leaders of the main parties, to find a way to present a shared leadership, a responsible leadership, for Israeli society in its time of crisis. Have at the forefront of your minds the terrible disease that is assaulting us and is claiming the lives of our loved ones, that is grievously damaging Israel’s economy and the homes of so many who are battling to survive financially.

"I know how short the distance is between you. Each side must understand the other’s red lines and to be flexible on them, on the understanding that we have – we simply do not have – an alternative.

"Join together for the good of the Israeli people. If not now, when?

"My fellow Israeli citizens, once I was a young man and now I am old. As a child I personally experienced the siege of Jerusalem. As a people and as a nation, we have known the most severe moments of existential threat, and we beat them. I have no doubt in my heart that today, too, if we hold fast to public and personal responsibility and to the mutual obligations we have to each other, we can beat this.

"We will overcome and will come out of this stronger. Take care of yourselves and of those around you."