Pres. Herzog in the Knesset
Pres. Herzog in the KnessetKobi Gideon/GPO

President Isaac Herzog opened the Winter Session of the 25th Knesset today (Monday).

Against the background of the ongoing war with the terrorist organization Hamas, President Herzog said, “We are not alone in this war. We are fighting the war of the family of nations – of all those who seek justice, peace, and liberty – against an enemy which has made clear that its enemy is humanity itself.”

He added, “Members of Knesset, there are few moments in the life of a nation when so much is at stake. When such moments present themselves, they carry with them great responsibility. The demands and expectations of the remarkable Israeli people are justified. Expectations of us – the leadership. Expectations of this House, the Knesset. Simply put: At the end of this war, we cannot remain as we were at its beginning. This is true at the political level, at the security level, at the internal Israeli socio-political level. There is a clear, inherent, obligation to investigate, to review, to draw painful conclusions. There is no doubt or question about this. This is vital for any life-affirming country that has endured such an awful disaster. This cannot, however, undermine the war effort.”

He said, “Even now, in the heat of the battle, as we are still burying our dead – I hear dangerous, increasingly loud voices, which weaken our entire country and place us near the brink - beginning to sow the seeds of hatred and division. This must not happen. It cannot. Our enemies are eager for any hint of division among us. This is a vital part of their strategy. And you, ladies and gentlemen, have a critical role in the important duty of keeping us together. This House must mirror the sense of unity in our nation at this time, the understanding that at this moment in time, there are matters that transcend division and disagreement.”

The Knesset session was interrupted by the firing of a barrage of rockets by terrorists in the Gaza Strip at Jerusalem it's afternoon. The MKs were evacuated from the plenum to a bomb shelter. The Knesset session was resumed after ten minutes.