(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein told MKs they have an important role in relieving societal tensions after a difficult summer in a letter to all 120 lawmakers in honor of Rosh Hashana.
“We are at the start of a new year, and it seems that more than ever, we need this opportunity to turn the page, to put the hardships of the last summer behind us , return to the winds of autumn that the holidays bring, and look toward the future,” Edelstein said.
Edelstein explained that, while this is not an easy task, as public leaders MKs must carry that burden.
“The Israeli public experienced an exhausting, tense and worrisome time. Many lost those who are dearest to them and many of those who were injured are dealing with difficulties and the healing process, while businesses in the South were hit economically.
Meanwhile, there are many emotional arguments and debates in the public discourse and we as MKs have an important job in relieving tension and hostility,” he added.
The Knesset speaker wrote that Operation Protective Edge will leave its mark on politics, diplomacy and the economy, including upcoming budget debates, and he expressed hope that lawmakers will show respect and tolerance for each other.
Edelstein pointed to the “extraordinary unity” shown by Israelis during Operation Brother’s Keeper and Operation Protective Edge, and said that MKs must try to keep that atmosphere alive.
The letter closed with a wish for a happy, peaceful new year and a happy holiday.
Edelstein also produced a YouTube video in which he “closes” the year 5774 as he would a Knesset meeting, announcing the exact date and time and banging with his gavel.
Then, for reasons he does not explain, he knocks on a pomegranate, one of the symbols of Rosh Hashana, with his gavel, as well.
On Edelstein’s desk in the video are olive oil and honey from the South, apples from the Golan Heights and pomegranates from Gush Etzion, where he lives.
Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz also made a humorous video this year, making reference to his reputation for talking too much and at great length.
The video shows Steinitz typing a Facebook status.
Then he turns to the camera and says he won’t talk too much, and viewers can check his Facebook page or blog for everything he has to say.
“Meanwhile, all I’ll say is have a good, blessed new year,” he concluded, then asked someone off-camera if he sounded good.
The clips come after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s annual Rosh Hashana video, in which he sent WhatsApp messages rife with emoticons to the children of Israel, soldiers and all Israelis.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett skipped the jokes in his Rosh Hashana video, which was made up entirely of clips of his media appearances in the past year and headlines acclaiming his accomplishments.