At the state memorial ceremony for former premier David Ben-Gurion, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday called for an end to the divisions in Israeli society and politics, saying there were “arguments just for the sake of arguments.”
“These days we are witnessing a lot of noise, shouting and screaming,” Bennett said at the event held at Kibbutz Sde Boker, where the former premier spent his final years. “We are trying to understand what the essence of the arguments is today. Is it about content? Essence? Principles?”
“Today the arguments are for the sake of arguments. There is currently no withdrawal from the West Bank, no war, no disengagement [from the Gaza Strip], so what is the drama about? What is the noise?” he said.
Bennett also noted the attacks on his ideologically diverse coalition, saying they were symptomatic of a broader problem.
“The attacks on the government are against the very idea of sitting together. This is a worrying development,” Bennett said. “Statehood is a strategic asset, the famous Israeli ‘togetherness,’ thanks to which we are united, thanks to which we won and thanks to which we are here. Ben-Gurion founded the principle of statehood; we have a duty to carry it out.”
President Isaac Herzog also spoke at the event of the “elusive concept” of statehood, a mainstay of the worldview of Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister.
Herzog said that lawmakers and officials have a duty to strengthen Israeli statehood.
“This mission, to strengthen our statehood, is largely on the shoulders of the elected representatives and leaders. This is, in my opinion, the main mission of the Israeli public servant these days — to restore statehood to its former position,” Herzog said.
“A statehood that identifies common needs. A statehood that strengthens our togetherness. A statehood that allows us to make national priorities. A statehood that dictates our conduct together, with and in front of the state and its institutions.” he said.
The president also spoke of the need “to understand that we are part of something, a historical and wonderful political entity — Jewish and democratic — with a world of values and identity.”