IDF Gaza Division
Against the background of the round of conflict in the south of the country last week, President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin yesterday, Sunday 17 November 2019 / 19 Cheshvan 5780, visited the IDF Gaza Division and Netivot. The president was accompanied on his visit to the Gaza Division by its commander, Brig-Gen Eliezer Toledano, and by Mayor or Netivot Yehiel Zohar.
“In the last few days, we have seen a brutal attack on Israeli citizens’ daily routines. Parents and children were forced to take shelter in their homes and in hardened rooms. Kindergartens and schools were closed,” said the president at the beginning of his remarks to soldiers and commanders of the IDF Gaza Division. “You were on guard 24 hours a day to make sure that no harm came to them. Without a break, with devotion, you ensured that ‘the guardian of Israel never slumbers and never sleeps.’”
The president stressed
he important work the soldiers did in this sector recently, saying “the fighting in Gaza presents many challenges and requires creative thinking and finding solutions. First and foremost, we must consider the security of our citizens, and their ability to maintain their normal daily lives. Sometimes, to protect our citizens, we need to attack. The Israeli The Israeli home front is the steel nerves of the country. You are its iron wall. It is clear to me that this operations room was like a pressure cooker over the last few days. The role of those sitting here is to operate coolly and with a clear mind, even when the pressure is enormous. I have no doubt you succeeded in your mission. Thank you for the devotion and commitment with which you serve the people of this country. Personally, and on their behalf, I want to say thank you today.”
After his visit to the Gaza Division
the president continued to the operations center of the city of Netivot, where he met with Mayor Yehiel Zohar and members of the city council and heard from them about how the residents dealt with the long hours of fighting and saw a dry-run simulation of how the center deals with the scenario of a rocket falling in the city.
Arriving at the operations center, the president thanked the residents of the area for the resilience they have shown, saying “I came to thank you for your steadfastness, together with all Israelis., We know that we face further rounds of fighting and we must find a solution that brings long-term quiet to the area. All Israelis need to know that the operation we carried out was absolutely vital to protect Israeli citizens. This was a man who was a ticking time-bomb in his ability to put into action attacks that harmed all Israeli citizens. We would prefer to extend a hand of peace to our neighbors. Not only do we not seek war, we ask at every opportunity to reach an agreement with them.”
Regarding the political situation
the president made an impassioned call to the heads of the parties and said, “We do not need another round of elections. We need a government that is able to face the challenges that require unity by forming a solid parliamentary majority that can pass a budget, including the security and social services budget. The budget is for the people of Israel, those people who we call on from time to time to take shelter in bomb shelters and who cannot get in – something that has happened on more than one occasion here in Netivot with people who have had difficulties taking cover. These are things that a united government can find solutions for. These are the things that require compromise on one hand, and support and solidarity on the other.”
“I believe it is possible to form a government,” the president stressed. ‘The gaps are more personal than they are ideological, conceptual, political or to do with the needs of the state. Israel’s leaders must understand that the people of Israel come first. The people sees that nothing new will come out of another round of elections. There is no argument over ideas. That argument has already been had. We need a government that can function and decide on issues where the two main parties can agree on an outline of policies, and then resolve the sensitive issues facing this leader or another regarding his future. We must break out of the restraints of personality and understand that we were elected as leaders to deal with the people’s future. The people knows which way it is going and supports the leadership whenever it knows what the goal is.”
The president spoke to Mayor Yehiel Zohar
saying “I really believe every mayor should speak to the leaders and tell them: Enough! We do not need another round of elections. Do the right thing and come back. I call on both Likud and Kachol Lavan to get a grip and understand that the people do not want more elections. They have had enough of elections. You are the representatives of the sovereign, but never forget – the people is the sovereign. The people which holds all the views in Israel. We were together, we are destined to be together and we will be together. Netivot is an appropriate place, especially in days like these, to be an example to us all Mr. Mayor.”
Attached photo credit: Kobi Gideon (GPO)