Rivlin calls for unity; Netanyahu says it should not mean uniformity

With the country gearing up for another blistering election campaign, President Reuven Rivlin is issuing a call for unity.

“We cannot let the dialogue of factionalism destroy our better selves,” Rivlin says at a ceremony marking 71 years since the Altalena weapons ship was bombed.

The ship, which was carrying weapons for the right-wing Irgun militia during the War of Independence, was bombed by the newly formed Israel Defense Forces during a skirmish between the groups.

“This day reminds us that the greatest threat to us, even 70 years after the formation of the state, resides within us,” Rivlin says.

Speaking after Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that “unity does not mean uniformity” and complains that voices in defense of the right-wing Irgun have been “pushed into the corner” for decades.

“Only thanks to our work has the work of the ‘fighting family’ received their proper due,” he says, using a nickname for the Menachem Begin-led paramilitary.

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