“If we do not understand that the way out of this crisis is our common responsibility - every part of Israeli society - it will be far harder to overcome it”
“At this time, we need to do both. To deal with the present with clarity and determination without ignoring the failures but acknowledging the situation as it is. And at the same time, putting down anchors for the future”
Attached photo credit: Haim Zach (GPO)
For the last time in his presidency, President of Israel Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin delivered remarks today, Sunday 22 November / 6 Cheshvan, at the official memorial ceremony for David Ben-Gurion ז"ל, marking 47 years since his death. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz and President of the Supreme Court Esther Hayut also participated in the event.
“People and states need dreams to establish themselves,” said the president in his remarks. “They need heroes to build themselves and pioneers to connect them to the land, the flag, the language, the culture. They need a past of devotion and dedication to the mission in order to live in a present and imagine a future of hope and success – and David Ben-Gurion knew how to give us that.”
“Ben-Gurion was a man of vision,” continued the president, “with his feet on the ground. He took difficult decisions, some of which came at a heavy cost – the decision to sink the Altalena, the decision to disband the Palmach, the decision to force immigrant communities into the ‘melting-pot’, a decision that rode roughshod over entire cultures in the name of the state. But he also knew that it was possible to establish a people, establish a state, only by living in the present while also forging a path for the future. Because putting down an anchor for the future means that there is a path to follow and there is a rope to hold on to and to pull ourselves forward on.”
"For nearly a year, we have been living only in the present,” said the president, referring to the coronavirus pandemic. “The global pandemic has created a health, social and economic crisis across the world, and here in Israel. It has made many of us retreat within ourselves, trying to survive and preserving energy to get through each day, each week. But this is not the character of this people or this country. It is a country that was established on a vision that once looked almost unachievable. A country that became what it is because of its ability to imagine the future, even during terrible wars and awful crises. A people that managed to absorb immigrants that doubled its population within three years. A young state that insisted on passing the National Insurance Law when it was still in its early years of establishment. A country that laid tens of thousands of meters of water pipes when it established the National Water Carrier to bring water to the whole country. This is the small country that, thanks to its wonderful human diversity and the nature of its people, became the Start-Up Nation.”
“If we lived without dreams, without belief, without solidarity, Israel would look completely different. If we do not understand that the way out of this crisis is our common responsibility - every part of Israeli society - it will be far harder to overcome it.”
“At this time, we need to do both. To deal with the present with clarity and determination without ignoring the failures but acknowledging the situation as it is. And at the same time, putting down anchors for the future. To continue telling ourselves, even when we are unable, the story of this people, of this country, of this nation – that has always known how to overcome and to succeed, ensuring a better future for our children. And that it will know, that we will know, what to do this time, too,” added the president.
At the end of his remarks, the president addressed words to the prime minister, alternate prime minister and finance minister, asking that they ensure the continued activity of Midreshet Ben Gurion. “The Midrasha at Sde Boker is an educational and Zionist undertaking of historic and strategic importance that is in danger of collapse. The midrasha has been forced to cut down its activities and is on the brink of illiquidity, endangering its ability to fulfil Ben-Gurion’s dream. Please, find the way to save Midreshet Ben Gurion, so that we never forget that the future of the people is connected to its past.”