Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement Wednesday evening to urge calm in Israel following demonstrations over judicial reform in the nation.
“Citizens of Israel, the right to demonstrate is a fundamental democratic value; however, freedom to demonstrate is not freedom to bring the country to a halt. The person who said this 20 years ago was the former President of the Supreme Court, Aharon Barak. It was correct then and it is also correct today. The freedom to demonstrate is not a license to drive the country into anarchy, to chaos, because a sovereign country cannot tolerate anarchy,” Netanyahu stated.
“I know that among you are many citizens who love the country and who fervently support the judicial reform. I also know that there are many other citizens who also love the country, who oppose the reform with the same fervor. But in a democracy there are clear rules how to have a debate. There are red lines that cannot be crossed and it does not matter how deep, stormy and emotional the debate is,” he added.
The prime minister also addressed the recent violence in Hawara, condemning the violent response by some Israelis following an act of Palestinian violence that killed two brothers.
“The sharp and clear red line is that violence and anarchy are absolutely forbidden. Yesterday in Hawara, following the awful murder of two marvelous brothers, I told the lawbreakers: We will not tolerate a situation in which everybody does what they deem fit,” he said.
“We cannot tolerate violence. We cannot tolerate assaulting police officers. We cannot tolerate blocking highways. We cannot tolerate threatening public figures and their families. We will not allow lawbreaking and violence anywhere,” the prime minister added.
Netanyahu concluded his remarks by again urging a halt to violence and a focus on peace through dialogue.
“I am again calling for calm. I am calling for a halt to the violence and I believe and hope that we will soon find a path to dialogue. Nobody will raise a hand to his fellow, because we are brothers. We have no other country. ‘They helped everyone his neighbour; and every one said to his brother: ‘Be of good courage.’ [Isaiah 41:6].”