President Reuven Rivlin

Rivlin in wake of threats: Political assassination possible

President tells Ynet he is not deterred by opponents, but political assassinations are now a risk due to the current violent discourse in Israeli society, while laying out his vision for peace and effective governance.

A year has passed since Reuven Rivlin entered the president's residence in Jerusalem, and the difficult public atmosphere which escorted his ascension to the role during Operation Protective Edge has been superseded by an even more tumultuous public atmosphere due to the recent hate crimes. 



"We are in the middle of a great fracture," the president warned in a special interview with Ynet.


When asked whether the violent and racist discourse could lead to another political assassination, he answered, "Everything's possible. Today there are those who hallucinate that a democratic and Jewish state is only democratic for the Jews."


President Reuven Rivlin    (צילום: אלי סגל ועופר מאיר, עריכה: רונה פפר)

President Reuven Rivlin   (אלי סגל ועופר מאיר)


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Rivlin has been travelling all over Israel recently, trying to protect his view of Israeli democracy. His recent speeches condemning the radical right wing and Jewish terror after the murder of the Palestinian infant Ali Dawabshe, have led to incitement and all out rage campaigns against him on social media networks, which then led to a police investigation.


"Terror is terror is terror" the president says, "and it doesn't matter what nationality that terror belongs to. There is a difficulty in combating the type of terror that is perpetrated by groups of radical Jews. Its terror from within and it is difficult to bring these perpetrators to justice; we need to create tools in order to combat this style of terrorism."


Even the sharpest of tools should be available for use, according to Rivlin. "Those who seek to advance the death penalty for terrorists need to remember that it will be enacted against Jews as well.


"They don't intimidate me," the president promises. When asked about claims made by his detractors - that the office of president has made him more of a "leftist"- Rivlin laughs. "I haven’t changed," the president said. "The right wing has blamed me for being too liberal in the past as well. Those who are surprised are the left wing."


Inciting photos posted to social media of Rivlin in a Nazi uniform
Inciting photos posted to social media of Rivlin in a Nazi uniform

Rivlin has listened carefully to recent attacks leveled against the justices of the Supreme Court, and had a hard time accepting them. According to him, "There is no, and cannot be any situation in which we don't respect the law and the judiciary. It is unacceptable to attack the courts; criticism is allowed, but attacks are not. It shakes the basis of our democracy."


Rivlin also presented his vision for the solution of the conflict with the Palestinians: An Israeli-Palestinian confederation without borders. "I don’t see any possibility of peace, if there won't be open borders between us and our neighbors," he said.


The Dawabshe family (Photo: Hasan Shalan) (Photo: Hassan Shaalan)
The Dawabshe family (Photo: Hasan Shalan)


Ynet's interview with the president took place before the vehicular terrorist attack on route 60 on Thursday, in which two soldiers were seriously injured and a third was lightly wounded. After the attack Rivlin posted a message in which he stated that he is, "Proud of our soldiers who reacted immediately and neutralized the terrorist. We do not have nor will we have any tolerance for terror. 


"I wish to strengthen the hand of the Prime Minister and the heads of the security agencies in the unrelenting battle for our right to maintain normal daily life in every place in Israel. I wish and pray with the people of Israel for the safety and recovery of the injured," the president continued. 


On his relations with Benjamin Netanyahu, he said, "He is the prime minister and I am the president. We both grew up in very official homes. He was once my friend. I never hold a grudge."


The president is also convinced that the prime minister must expand the current government, as he believes it is impossible to pass important reforms with the support of 61 mks alone. "We need a broad government which will make decisions, but not a national unity government, because we are divided from within."


Rivlin also spoke to the recent breakdown in relations between Netanyahu and US President Barak Obama. "I think they have very similar personalities and they are able to frustrate each other," Rivlin said, "Its not good that the frustration will come at a cost to US-Israeli relations."


פרסום ראשון: 08.07.15, 10:21
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