"There are many issues we still don't agree on, but the differences between us have become smaller," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday during a special Knesset session held in honor of resigning Meretz-Yahad member Yossi Beilin.
"Beilin made a mark; he saw things that we sometimes refused to see," Olmert said of the prominent leader of the left-wing camp, who recently announced he would not be seeking a spot on his party's Knesset roster in the upcoming elections.
Meretz Chairman Chaim Oron praised his predecessor for his role in the Oslo Accords, while Likud head Benjamin Netanyahu noted Beilin's "dignity" and his ability to "stay true to his convictions".
Netanyahu also lauded the Taglit – Birthright Israel program, which Beilin initiated a few years ago.
Labor Chairman Ehud Barak told Beilin during the Knesset session, "the extent of your contribution to the peace agreements is known only to those who are familiar with the details. You have also contributed greatly to public discourse, and it is no wonder that those who disagreed with you also respect your abilities."