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"Citizens of Israel, this is a difficult evening. Each time we hear the words 'cleared for publication', our hearts shudder with renewed pain and grief. Behind the name of every fallen soldier in the fighting in Gaza, there is an Israeli hero. A member of a family. A parents’ son. A partner. A father. A brother. A grandson. A loved one. “Who knows every pain. Who heals the brokenhearted.” (Chana Ben-Ari). The fallen and wounded are the best of the best. The beautiful and cherished. “They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.” (Samuel 2 1:23)

Our sons and daughters fight with supreme bravery. They risk their lives in the alleys, tunnels and shafts. In enemy territory, with a complex, dangerous challenge, they bring results and achievements. They fight with heroism, responsibility, with determination, morally, to achieve two interrelated goals: to eradicate a bitter and cruel enemy, and bring home the hostages, and rescue them from the abyss. They protect our collective home in a war we did not choose, against a brutal terrorists so that we will not see a return of these bloody rounds, again and again and again. They fight so that we – the Jewish nation – will have a better future, so that the entire region, and even humanity as a whole will have a better future.

And so that our brothers and sisters held hostage will be swiftly returned home.

The situation faced by our sisters and brothers, the hostages held captive by Hamas murderers - is unprecedented, cruel, and inhumane.

The obligation to return them in any way possible is an indelible commandment burned deep in our consciousness. We will not rest until they come home.

Do not forget, we are in the middle of a campaign against those who rose up to murder Jews, to rape, torture and kidnap Jews – and alongside the many Israelis also foreign citizens, and those of other beliefs and religions. It is a difficult, onerous, prolonged, and painful campaign. There is no “blink and we’re done”. But especially at this stage of the campaign, as painful and difficult stage as it may be, we must not break. We must raise our heads. The enemy is just waiting to see the cracks within us, for us to start fighting one another. They also see the conflicts, the arguments, the struggles between egos, the political conflicts – both in the days before, and in the days after. They celebrate when they see the cracks between us. And precisely because of this, I would like to convey the fitting request of the hundreds of grieving and bereaved families, and with them, the voices of our soldiers on the frontlines and the multitudes Israelis back standing behind them that I have met in the last months – and call on everyone, especially the elected officials: End the internal struggles and division. Yes, arguments and debates are part of our DNA. It is perfectly allowed – even necessary – to dispute and criticize, even in wartime, but there is a way to argue. We must not return to the discourse of October 6. We must not return to the poison online. We must not return to the discourse of “us and them”. In particular, I want to caution that anyone who seeks to bring us back to the discourse of October 6, is harming the war effort and the security the citizens of the country.

I appeal directly to the leaders of the people, to the senior leadership, and in general everyone who works in the political system and in the public sphere – and I say “stop”. Show responsibility. If not for your own sakes, at least for our children on the frontlines, for whom we care, and pray for their wellbeing and success. Hold off just a little more with the campaigns and with the political messages. It won’t do any damage. But at this time there is one imperative: and that is for unity, determination and mutual responsibility. We are in a war – not a war of choice, but a justified, correct and moral war. The justness of our path prevails over everything. Everything.

This moment is a test: We will not break, nor blink, nor fall apart, and we certainly will not tear ourselves apart from the inside. We shed a tear - and we shoulder on together.

From here I wish to offer strength and support to the IDF, to its fighters and commanders, who are risking their lives to return the hostages and restore the security of the State of Israel, to General Staff headed by Major General Herzi Halevi – for their responsible leadership, for their professional dedication.

I also offer strength to the operatives of the Shin Bet and Mossad, the security forces and their commanders. And to the Prison Officers, and all the search and rescue and emergency responders. “May God protect and save them all from all harm”.

And in the same spirit, I pray for the success of the War Cabinet led by the Prime Minister. In a historic emergency like no other, the need for unity and responsibility is above all else.

My sisters and brothers. Precisely in these difficult moments, I want to tell you that I wholeheartedly believe that victory will come. The amazing Israeli spirit, the spirit of mutual responsibility, of mobilization above and beyond the call of duty, is the civil and true victory that will help the military achieve victory over the enemy on the battlefield.

I want to tell you personally - even amidst all the pain – we must remember that the road to victory is lined with small victories, small hopes, and even small joys.

To the mother getting her children to kindergarten and school while her partner has been on reserve duty for more than 70 days, I want to say – you are the victory.

For the displaced family from the north or the south that is succeeding - even in a small hotel room – to maintain a routine and keep going with daily life. To every business owner who despite everything, has not given up for a moment - you are the victory.

The State of Israel must not forget you, and she is obliged to take care of you.

Every bereaved family that managed to raise a smile, or to imagine for a moment a way forward in the grief or hurt. Every wounded person who has perseveres during a round of physical therapy or psychological treatment. Every family of hostages working all over the world. I send you a warm embrace. You are our strength on the way to victory.

Every volunteer from all corners of Israeli society. Everyone who works for a shared existence in Israel - Arabs alongside Jews - even in this complex time, in responsibility, in solidarity, in absolute opposition to terrorism, and in firm support of a shared and prosperous life in our Jewish and democratic country – you are the victory. You are the victory.

Everyone who returned to sow wheat in the western Negev. All saying psalms in prayer for the recovery of the wounded, or helping harvest the fields in the South, or supporting the businesses of the reservists serving on the front. These are all victories, and these are all hopes. And these victories add to each other, and strengthen those on the front. They build us up step by step, in the victory against a cruel enemy. Because the enemy simply just didn't expect this. They didn't expect us to raise up, to unite. We will prove the Israeli way of life is second to none.

This is the time to offer strength to the home front and the frontline, with small victories compounding goodness and mutual responsibility. This is the time to restore normality in every way as much as possible. This is the time for more light, and hope, and unity. It is in our hands. And in our hands alone. Because even if the road is long, - as already said - to walk in it, is to live."