Netanyahu: IDF protects us from those pretending to speak for human rights
Israeli officials hosted by families across the country as hundreds of thousands of Israelis celebrate the Mimouna, marking the end of Passover; 'Let us open our hearts in times of disagreements too. We will argue, but know we are brothers and sisters,' Rivlin says.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara were guests of the Swissa family in Gan Yavne.
"I salute the IDF soldiers who protect us all the time, and keep us safe from those imposters who allegedly speak for human rights while waving the Nazi flag," Netanyahu said at the event, referring to Palestinian protesters in Gaza who waved the swastika banner during border clashes on Friday. "They're talking about human rights, but they actually want to trample the Jewish state."
The prime minister thanked his hosts and praised his supporters. "You show great support to me, Sara, our way, our movement, and our country," he said.
"This country is a wonder, everyone can see that. Israel is sought-after by world powers and continents, and not just because of the mufletas," he quipped, referring to the Moroccan pastry which is a staple of Mimouna celebrations.
Netanyahu noted that the great success Israel enjoys "doesn't mean we don't have challenges ahead," and vowed "we will protect our country. We will build it up with all of the tribes of Israel, who are gathered around this table and many such tables."
President Reuven Rivlin and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein were guests at a Mimouna celebration in Ashkelon.
"Today, more than ever, I want to praise our brothers and sisters who gave us—as a society and a people—this wonderful tradition of the Mimouna, in which we are starting to understand... that opening one's door is opening one's heart," Rivlin said.
"Why do we open our hearts only once a year?" he wondered. "Let us open our hearts in times of disagreements too. We will argue, but know we are brothers and sisters."
Edelstein added, "May our days pass without disagreements, with true unity."
Finance Minister Kahlon celebrated with the Pinto family in Gedera. "Thanks to the IDF soldiers who protect us, we can celebrate tonight. They're not far from here on the Gaza border, dealing with a cynical, evil and cruel enemy. These are not innocent people who want to help an old lady cross the road," he stressed.
Shahar Hay, Matan Tzuri, Adir Yanko, Ilana Curiel and Moran Azulay contributed to this story.