Rivlin pleads for softer tone in public fight over annexation, peace plan

President Reuven Rivlin chides Israelis for their rhetoric against US President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan as right-wing leaders trade barbs over the proposal.

“We are brothers and sisters, I want to remind us today, and not in an abstract or distant way. In recent days, the question of annexation is once again the subject of difficult conversations. Us and them. Are you with us or against us? We all suffer from this kind of discourse. Discussing fateful questions — and the question of annexation is indeed a fateful one — must take place. It must take place in every country that wants the best for its people,” says Rivlin.

“Each person has their own view of the world. This is the stuff of Israeli democracy. We do not recoil from the critics or the questioners, but we must beware of those who silence the conversation. We must not prevent questions, doubts or criticism from any political side. Disagree — yes. Argue — absolutely. But the verbal violence, the name-calling, the ridiculing, and the contempt must stop. I, who remember well the attempts to silence the critics at the time of Oslo and the disengagement and remember how hard we worked to recover from that shutdown, make this request of you — enough.”

The president’s plea comes hours after David Elhayani, who chairs the Yesha umbrella council of settlement mayors, again condemned the Trump plan.

“If someone comes to me with a cake while holding a gun to my head will I just take some cake and then say ‘goodbye,’” he said, explaining his need to warn of the dangers he perceives. “My duty is to save us from the existential threats.”

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