ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 139

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Opening new Knesset, Rivlin implores political leaders to ‘give this people a government’

President Reuven Rivlin opens the 23rd Knesset with an address to the only three lawmakers present — Prime Minister Netanyahu, Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.

After three consecutive elections, Rivlin says Israelis are “exhausted” from politics.

“We are looking forward to the day-to-day, the routine, when we will all return to what we have in common, our shared fate that is expressed so clearly in the current crisis,” he says, referring to the outbreak of the virus.

Disinfecting the Knesset ahead of the swearing in of MKs amid the coronavirus crisis, March 16, 2020 (Knesset spokeswoman)

The president implores political leaders to compromise.

“Politics is far from perfect. But politics is meant to be the art of the possible. Often, politics needs to be the art of compromise… At the heart of democracy lies the understanding that what often creates the requirement for compromise, to make deep and painful concessions, is the will of the people itself,” he says.

Rivlin continues: “The current political crisis is very real, very deep and is breaking us in two. And we still have no other choice, because we have no other people and no other country. In democracy, we may be able to replace the leadership, but we cannot replace the people. Not some of it, not one half of it and not the other half of it. We were destined to live together.”

He says he has one request of political leaders. “Give this people a government,” he implores.

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