A spokesperson for Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid releases the full text of the speech he didn’t give in the Knesset earlier. Lapid decided to forgo the address after right-wing lawmakers heckled Prime Minister-designate Bennett relentlessly.
Below are some excerpts of his prepared remarks:
“In a democratic country, governments rise and fall. A generation goes and a generation comes. That is the natural order of things. This is a complicated coalition, maybe the most complicated in the country’s history, but the reason for its creation is actually simple: It’s time. It’s time. It’s even a little late. This change is unavoidable because time doesn’t stop. It’s time to change the operating system, it’s time for a change of generation.
“But before we look to the future, we have another task – we need to find a way to forgive one another for the past. Hate is a prison, and forgiveness is the way out.
“I look at the past few years in the life of this country; the protests, the anger, the terrible things that have been said in this hall. I don’t want to be held hostage to those years. In the past six years, I have sat in the opposition. Much of that time, I have been angry at the way the government treated us. The solution is not to treat them the same way. The solution is to behave differently.
“I want to say to the opposition from this podium – our door will be open to you. We know that the public that voted for you has real needs. We won’t agree on everything, but we will always listen.”
The speech would have continued:
“After all the insults and the warnings, the real divide in Israeli society isn’t between left and right. The real divide is between moderates and extremists. Those who want to build and those who want to destroy.
“We will not let the extremists destroy the State of Israel. We will not let hate control us. Violent racists don’t become patriots just because they wrap themselves in a flag. They will not define for us what it means to love Israel.
“We are not enemies. Even the most strident opinions, even the most heated arguments, will not turn us into enemies. We will not let extremists destroy our ability to speak to one another and to work together for the good of the country.”