Rivlin spoke at the opening ceremony and criticized the heated campaigns that preceded the April 9 elections, and pleaded MKs to put aside all differences, stop slamming their political rivals and have clean and honest debates which he called "the only thing that gives this home (of ours) a right to exist, and its status as a Jewish and democratic country a strong base."
"We've been through a rough campaign season. We've slammed others and got slammed ourselves," said the president. "Enough now. We must rise above, put our swords aside and clean the dirt. Political strategy can no longer be the only the sole compass."
Rivlin addressed both the coalition and the opposition and shared from his experience on both sides. "It is a great right to serve the people from the opposition, as much as it is a great responsibility," said the president.
Rivlin cited Menahem Begin, who was the opposition leader for several terms before he became prime minister, and told the crowd that during the swearing in of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol in 1963, Begin gave everybody a lesson about the important role of the opposition.
"He (Eshkol) must know that we aspire to move him and his colleagues to the opposition, and it isn't only our right — it is our duty," cited the president.
To the opposition Rivlin said they must be "honorable winners."
"You are not in the opposition, you have been holding the reins of power and leadership for a long time now," said the president, referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's 5th term in office.
"It is your duty to stop trying to finish off you rivals, let go of the victimhood, and reign with respect and love over all the different kind of citizens who live here," Rivlin concluded.
After all 120 MKs stood up and declared their commitment to serve, the national anthem, Hatikva, was sung by all but the Arab parties, who did not participate and left the hall.