Peres: Public should support police

President tells convention of police officers "you are the symbol of Zionism, devotion and values in service to the nation.”

Shimon Peres 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Shimon Peres 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Sharply aware of violations of law and order – and of basic civil behavior – President Shimon Peres has called on the public to throw its weight behind the police “who safeguard our physical existence and the democratic character of the State of Israel.”
Speaking on Tuesday at the Modi’in Cultural Center at a convention of police officers that was attended by Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich and Police Chief Yohanan Danino, Peres drew inspiration from the beginning of the three-week mourning period marked by the 17th of Tammuz in the Hebrew calendar – the date on which the walls of Jerusalem were breached, prior to the destruction of the Second Temple.
According to Jewish history, said Peres, there were many other calamities on this date, before and after, all rooted in hatred and intolerance.
Peres said it is incumbent on all Jews to take stock on the 17th of Tammuz, and remember the values of fraternity and the inherent dangers of baseless hatred.
Peres made it clear that freedom of expression does not constitute freedom to incite, insult or make unwarranted accusations.
People must behave responsibly he said, alluding to recent events in which rabbis who defied police requests were subsequently apprehended in a manner which was not in keeping with their status – and resulted in large pockets of the haredi and other national religious communities protesting in the streets.
Upholding the law is one of the principle foundations of an enlightened society, said Peres.
He added that he understands that Israeli police are more pressured than those in other democracies, because on a per capita ratio, they have less manpower, more responsibilities and must take more risks.
“I have come to salute you in the name of the nation and to express appreciation for the tremendous efforts you are making on the internal front and on the security front. A state without a responsible police force is a hindrance to the nation, and a police force without the backing of the nation will find it difficult to protect the nation,” he said.
In return, Danino praised Peres.
“You, more than anyone else, reflect the continuity of the path taken by Ben Gurion,” he said.
“In our eyes, you are the symbol of Zionism, devotion and values in service to the nation.”