Rivlin: The rule of law unites us

The president spoke at a ceremony recognizing outstanding individuals in law enforcement.

President and Mrs Rivlin welcomed soldiers from the Police counter-terrorism unit and Rambo the dog, who were involved in the capture of the terrorist responsible for the attack at Barkan industrial estate (photo credit: TOMER REICHMAN/COURTESY)
President and Mrs Rivlin welcomed soldiers from the Police counter-terrorism unit and Rambo the dog, who were involved in the capture of the terrorist responsible for the attack at Barkan industrial estate
(photo credit: TOMER REICHMAN/COURTESY)
The video clips on the large screen in the main reception hall at the President’s Residence on Tuesday showed scenes that would have kept any fan of action thrillers riveted to their seats.
But the different scenes – inside prisons, on mountain tops, in ravines, on highways and in busy urban areas – were not previews for some television crime series. They were real life documentary evidence of the multitude of safety and security activities undertaken on a daily basis by the four entities which operate under the aegis of the Internal Security Ministry – the Israel Police, the Israel Prison Service, the National Fire and Rescue Authority and the Witness Protection Authority.
The occasion was the annual ceremony recognizing outstanding individuals from all four branches, who received certificates of commendation from Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan and the heads of the individual branches – acting Police Commissioner Moti Cohen, acting commander of Prison Service Asher Vaknin, Fire and Rescue Commissioner Asher Simchi and the head of the Witness Protection Authority Avi Neuman.
Several of the 28 men and women who were recognized for their professionalism, dedication and valor were partially disguised and referred to only by their initials, not their names.
The ceremony was held in the presence of President Reuven Rivlin, only a few hours prior to his departure for France at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron.
In his address to the law enforcement personnel and their families, Rivlin – alluding to recent incidents in which police may have circumvented the law to guarantee the safety and security of members of the public who might otherwise be injured or killed – said in his opening remarks that law enforcement is not always a pleasant task, and sometimes requires the use of force against citizens of the state – many times in impossible situations.
Rivlin lamented the erosion of respect for the rule of law, which he said has been interpreted in recent years as artificial, oppressive, repressive and annoying.
This is a serious mistake in the comprehension of the significance of the law, he said. “The law is our social and national institution. The law is the consensus of all sections of society to live together. This is the way in which society transforms chaos into a success story.”
In illustrating the importance of the rule of law, Rivlin said: “We only to have to see what’s happening in our neighboring countries to realize that the rule of law unites us as a people.”
Rivlin said that it would be erroneous to describe the exceptional individuals who had been singled out for recognition solely as defenders against crime. The internal security network in all its divisions stands on the frontline in combating terrorism, battling violence and crime, fighting fires and securing prisons. The police fight shoulder to shoulder with the IDF in the struggle against terrorism, he said.
Erdan said that “despite the neighborhood in which we live” people feel personally safer in Israel than in most of the Western world.
Addressing the personnel of all four agencies under the umbrella of his ministry, Erdan said: “Every citizen of Israel owes you a great debt of thanks.”