Rivlin advocates discussion on annexation – But without verbal violence

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In his statement, he said that while discussions are important, there is a certain way they must be conducted.

President Reuven Rivlin has called for an end to verbal violence in discussions on annexation. Acknowledging that it is perfectly legitimate and even desirable for different viewpoints to be aired in a democratic society, Rivlin characterized the issue of annexation as “fateful” and declared that the conversation should not be silenced.

“We are brothers and sisters, I want to remind us today, and not in an abstract or distant way. In recent days, the question of annexation is once again the subject of difficult conversations.” Rivlin said. “Us and them. Are you with us or against us? We all suffer from this kind of discourse.”

Questions, doubts and criticisms from all political sides should be encouraged he said, but without name-calling or ridiculing. He saw nothing wrong with argument or disagreement, but drew the line at verbal violence.

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“Discussing fateful questions – and the question of annexation is indeed a fateful one – must take place. It must take place in every country that wants the best for its people. Each person has their own view of the world. This is the stuff of Israeli democracy,” he said.

“We do not flinch at the critics or the questioners, but we must beware of those who silence the conversation. We must not prevent questions, doubts or criticism from any political side,” he emphasized. “Disagree – yes. Argue – absolutely. But the verbal violence, the name-calling, the ridiculing, and the contempt must stop. I, who remember well the attempts to silence the critics at the time of Oslo and the Disengagement – and remember how hard we worked to recover from that shutdown – make this request of you: enough!” Rivlin said.

Annexation is supported by 50.1% of Israelis and opposed by 30.9%, according to a poll made by the Israel Democracy Institute on Wednesday. Some 19% responded that they do not know or refused to answer.

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