President Isaac Herzog opens his remarks at the swearing-in of the new Knesset by addressing this morning’s terror attack in the West Bank, which left three Israelis dead and several others wounded.
“Israel will continue to stand firmly and assertively, everywhere and always, against acts of terror and hatred that rear their heads and menace us all. On behalf of the entire Israeli people, I share the deep grief of the victims’ families and of the city of Ariel, and I pray for the health of the injured,” he says.
Turning to the lawmakers, Herzog urges them to cool the political discourse.
“The citizens of Israel today are proud of their country, which this year will celebrate 75 years of independence, and they believe in the righteousness of its cause; but at the same time, to tell you the truth, they are exhausted from the infighting and its fallout,” he says.
“Now, the responsibility lies first and foremost with you, the public’s elected representatives. Responsibility to try to wean us off this addiction to never-ending conflicts,” the president adds.
Herzog says Israelis now want their politicians “simply to work for them.”
“They expect you, all of you, to work for them in the committees, in the plenum, and in your assorted public and parliamentary roles. They expect us, all of us, to wake up every morning and look out for them,” he says.
He also alludes to calls among members of Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu’s nascent coalition for legislation that would allow the Knesset to overrule High Court rulings.
“On this festive day, it is only proper that we recall that the power of the legislature is part of a necessary and broader system of checks and balances. Let me underscore: not only is change possible; there are places where change is proper and desirable,” he says.
“But we must do so through listening, through open dialogue, through respectful discourse — and fairly,” he adds.