In a video that went viral a few weeks ago, Lt. Omri Akshlama can be seen giving a pep talk to his subordinates after a long march in which he compares the stretcher they carried on their backs to the state of Israel. The officer explained to his men the importance of unity, especially now, so the stretcher won't fall.
On Sunday, President Isaac Herzog hosted "Team Omri" from the Golani brigade training camp in his home.
At the beginning of the meeting, the President stated: "We are at a very volatile time as far as Israel is concerned. Just as you compared us to a stretcher, I think the state of Israel is a metaphor for a stretcher. If someone takes the stretcher too far to the right or too far to the left, the stretcher can fall, and if some leaves in the middle, the stretcher can fall. That's how I see Israel."
Herzog continued: "I tell you this from the point of historical responsibility. I hear that people call public figures and leaders names and compare them to Nazis. People forget what happened in the Holocaust when they casually use the term Nazi. When people curse and threaten the lives of public servants who wake up in the morning to serve us, I say that we are dropping the stretcher.
When I see that there are threats to murder the Prime Minister, murder, I tell myself that we don't understand that the stretcher will fall. This is a terrible thing that needs to be stopped in any way, we can not let these expressions into the discourse. The discourse is going to dangerous places, and I call on anyone who is involved in the argument: stop for a moment, breathe.
Herzog appealed: "Stop the process for a moment, take a deep breath, allow for dialogue since there is a vast majority that wants it. Just like you carried the stretcher, that's how it should be. We have to carry the stretcher together, all parts of the nation, and hold a dialogue about the pain and the important matters before it's too late."
The President told the soldiers: "I am very excited to see you since your speech, and really you symbolize the best of our boys, you symbolize the past generations and Israel's future. Continue to serve as an example for the nation of Israel.