MKs have a great responsibility, as they will deal with major societal concerns
in the coming months, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein warned in his Rosh Hashana
message to lawmakers Monday.
“This was a tense year, a year of elections
and choices, a year of everyday challenges and those from abroad. The Knesset
had to pass a difficult budget and take care of painful social issues,”
Edelstein said in a YouTube video addressed to MKs.
As elected officials
and public representatives, legislators have major responsibilities, he
In the next session, which begins in mid-October, the Knesset will
deal with haredi enlistment, Beduin land claims in the Negev, electoral reform
and the peace process, each of which “can rip our society to shreds,” and the
combination will lead to a great amount of tension.
“We must be careful
in what we say, learn how to express ourselves and know when is the time to talk
and when to be quiet,” Edelstein advised.
“Public service is a burden and
a commitment, not power. Whoever represents the public must adopt a broad
outlook, good manners and appropriate demeanor in his speech and
The Knesset speaker added that MKs should not behave hastily
or drag citizens into culture wars or discrimination between the majority and
“We must be moderate, show good judgement and patience and
think about the good of the entire society. We cannot aim for immediate
achievements, or to defeat and humiliate our rivals. Every discussion and
argument on the budget, or the Land of Israel or about peace must be dignified
and in the appropriate framework,” he added.
Edelstein commended the
unusual number of freshman MKs – 47 – for quickly learning the ins and outs of
“I believe with all my heart that we have the power
and ability to argue without fighting, to be opposed without giving up, and to
lead processes with respect toward those who are against them,” Edelstein
concluded. “I turn to you to behave with respect for the institution and the
democratic process. I believe we can do this.”
Earlier Monday, Edelstein
met with his Cypriot counterpart, Yiannakis Omirou, in Nicosia, the capital of
Cyprus, where they signed an agreement for the two countries to cooperate in
areas of culture, economics, natural resources and more.
Omirou discussed the situation in Syria, among other issues. The former, who
spent years in a Soviet prison before being allowed to immigrate to Israel, said
that “one can’t rely on dictatorships to last for long; eventually, they
“It’s terrible to see children being slaughtered, but on the
other hand, we cannot act according to our gut feelings without examining the
ramifications,” he said.
Edelstein asked Omirou to speak out against the
European Union boycotting Israeli products and research from over the Green
“Cyprus is the closest country to Israel that is part of the EU,
and we see it as a good friend,” Edelstein stated.
Omirou responded that
Israel can see Cyprus as its representative in the EU and the European