President Rivlin addresses opening of the 20th Knesset
President Rivlin: “Do not forget for one minute who sent you to this place; the public’s trust is the dearest of assets in democracy, and it is now in your hands.”
“The decisions you make here, are the realization of our liberty as a people in the State of Israel, the Jewish democratic state, democratic and Jewish.”
President Reuven Rivlin this afternoon (Tuesday), opened the new session of the 20th Knesset, during an official ceremony. He was welcomed on the Knesset plaza with a guard of honor and accompanied by Speaker of the 19th Knesset, Yuli Edelstein MK, as he lay a wreath at the memorial to Israel’s fallen servicemen and women. The President then opened the Knesset with a special address.
The President said, “On the recent Election Day, Israel’s democracy once again proved that is it is strong, thriving, and unpredictable. The task remains uncompleted as long as the new government has yet to be sworn in before the Knesset. I urge all sides involved, to strive to conclude the coalition negotiations as soon as possible. The public infrastructure is suffering from paralysis for several long months, and we must allow it to return to full functionality. Each day that passes, exacts a higher price upon the Israeli people.
“Friends, we stand on the eve of the festival of Passover, the festival of liberation. The essence of this holiday is defined by three things; Pesach (the Passover offering made in Temple times), Matzah (unleavened bread), and Maror (the bitter herbs eaten as part of the Seder.) Similarly, this house also stands upon three things: being servants of the public, representing the changing face of Israel, and responsibility to make decisions.
“You are the emissaries of the public. During the elections, it seems there were times that the drama occurred between politicians and other politicians, between the politicians and the media, between campaigners and spin doctors, between ‘them’, ‘you’, and ‘us’. But now the clashes have ended, the time has come to return focus to the main actors, the citizens of the State of Israel. Not you seated here, whether victors or the losers, but them. They who sent you here, as public servants, and not as ‘chosen to be above the people’. Sitting here today, are several new Members of Knesset. You should be aware, that his is a house made of glass. Yet, the walls of this house are transparent, not only so that the people can see in, but so that you too can see the people, the public whom you represent; the people whom you now serve. Do not leave the pain and needs of the people at the door of the parliament building. The pain of a lack of housing, of those needing saving, the cries of the workers in poverty, the needs of the unrewarded workers, the ongoing concerns of the residents around the Gaza Strip. Bring their voices with you: to the faction meetings, to the committee rooms, to this plenum. Do not forget for one minute who sent you to this place; the public’s trust is the most dearest of assets in democracy. This trust is given now into the hands of each and every one of you.
“In just a short time, you will be sworn in as Members of Knesset. You were chosen to make decisions. With that, remember, the weight of the freedom and responsibility of decision making. You are not only making decisions for those who voted for you. You are making decisions for all the Israeli public. With the slightest of gesture, you can shape history, set and seal the fate and future of this people. In this house, peace treaties and armistices were signed. Decisions were taken to tear many citizens from their homes. Decrees were made, and laws were passed that shaped our obligations, our rights, and our image as a people: The Basic Law: Human Rights, the law of obligatory education, of public healthcare. In your hands, rests the opportunity to enact a constitution for the State of Israel. This heavy responsibility rests on the shoulders of the Opposition as it does on the Government. You, all of you, now 120 leaders of the people and its legislators.
“In the name of the Israeli people, I pray that brotherhood and unity will be instilled between you, and you will, with humility, make wise and courageous decisions.”
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