President Reuven Rivlin addressed the nation Wednesday night with a plea to end the recent wave of violent incidents between Jews and Arabs across Israel: “I am asking and begging all local leaders, all religious leaders, all Israeli citizens, parents who can influence their children. Do everything in your power to stop this heinous thing that is happening before our eyes.”
“We are facing the danger of rockets being fired towards our citizens and our streets, and we are engaging in a civil war we have created for ourselves for no reason at all. Please stop this madness,” Rivlin said in an interview with News 12.
“From the very first days of the state, there have been arguments between us. The State of Israel is very complex, very fragile, a society made up of tribes [that came together to form] a state. God forbid the state should become mere tribes.”
Rivlin has previously conceptualized Israeli society as being composed of four separate “tribes” — Arabs, ultra-Orthodox Jews, national religious Jews, and secular Jews — and called for increased partnership and decreased polarization between the separate groups. He later claimed that diaspora Jewry is the fifth tribe.
Rivlin called upon the rioters to “please stop. Don’t make this situation worse. We are one society. We are one country,” the president said. “We are citizens of the same country. After all, tomorrow we will all wake up to the same country [and return to] the same workplaces where we work. Things are getting worse and worse, and God forbid we lose what we worked so hard to create here in the State of Israel.
“This is our responsibility — all public leaders, from every sphere that has influence over the public and over society as a whole. Religious leaders, local leaders, ministers and MKs, Jews and Arabs. I am calling on all Israeli society, and to everyone who can influence others. The silent majority who are sitting back quietly, watching the events unfold on TV like everyone else — let's make ourselves heard, let’s all get up and tell our families, let’s each one of us tell our own city, our own sphere, our own synagogue: Stop this. We live here, and we’re going to continue to live here. This is our future. There is no other way.”