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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Rwanda’s response to COVID-19 brings out the need to prepare and learn from practice

Wash your hands, wear your face mask and practice physical distancing. These COVID-19 safety measures by the World Health Organization (WHO) will probably go down in the World’s history as the most repeated and translated words of the year 2020.  Since December 2019, COVID-19 has imposed itself onto the World forcing everyone to rethink the…
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    President Isaac Herzog speaks at opening of B’Sheva conference

    Just under a month after taking office, President Isaac Herzog on Sunday said he had assumed his role in stormy days following four rounds of parliamentary elections, with Israel barely avoiding a fifth one.

    Herzog had found the metaphoric river tearing Israeli asunder, characterizing the situation as tempestuous, temperamental and threatening, he said in an address to the opening session of B’Sheva communications group’s summer conference at Jerusalem’s Menachem Begin Heritage Center.

    For all that, Herzog believes most Israelis would agree with him that there are clearly defined limits as to what is acceptable. It is permissible to be annoyed and angry, to be opposed to something, but it is forbidden to foster hate, divisiveness and incitement in Israel, the Jewish and democratic state, he said.

    Verbal and physical assault must remain out of bounds, Herzog said.

    “That applies to both Right and Left, religious and secular, Jews and Arabs,” he said. “It applies to us all.”

    In this context, Herzog did not spare the media, which he said sometimes exaggerate to the point of being radical, but also know what their boundaries are within the limits of the law.

    On social media, however, even gladiators find a platform, Herzog said. Their rhetoric knows no limitations, as evidenced during Operation Guardian of the Walls, when they spewed incitement and violence that were harmful to innocent people, he said.

    It is also on social media that we see daily evidence of hatred of Israel and dissemination of contemporary antisemitism, Herzog said, adding that BDS proponents also make use of it to delegitimize the very existence of Israel.

    With such internal and external challenges, national unity becomes all the more important, he said.

    Despite the differences that exist within the population, Herzog said he is convinced the citizens of Israel stand together against those who would desire the Jewish state’s extinction. He also believes in the common destiny and meaningful consensus on the part of those who want to build a better future for the nation.

    It is imperative to create a mechanism of agreement whereby people of opposing views and national and religious backgrounds can live together and know how to settle their differences honorably, Herzog said.

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