Since the beginning of the operation, we already count twenty seven brave soldiers falling while protecting us, citizens of Israel. And what we see in the country, all around, is sadness. Everyone pains as if the fallen soldier was their own child, their own brother, their own friend. We cry in unison, as one heart bleeds, touching all the souls at once.
While in the streets of Europe we see ever growing anger and violence, in the streets of Israel, we live among one big family that cherishes life above all else; for whom freedom, love and solidarity are the most important values. In times of war, these values are expanded, strengthened to the extent that we forget all our differences: religious, secular, stranger, everything becomes insignificant, as we transform into a single body who survives and aches as one.
Today, as in any military ground operation, people die on both sides. We all lose these close or neighboring souls, and none of us rejoices. These events are exactly what is needed to trigger further anger, frustration and, unfortunately, hatred.
Now, more than ever, is the time to be strong.
We are the people of Israel. We are the people who stand for democracy, justice, freedom and independence. We are the people who changed our destiny by taking it in our own hands. We are the people of peace. We can never forget this heritage, especially now, and can never stop to strive for it.
As we struggle and survive through these hard times, with tension, stress and frustration growing stronger every day for each of us, we must not forget the end game: finding ourselves a partner with which we will be able to talk about peace.
In times like the ones we are living now, the very idea of having any kind of peace process takes a particularly strong toll, and becomes much harder to conceive. Each day, the concept of sitting with someone to speak about building a new state, ensuring autonomy and independence, or even considering a framework that would ensure for a quiet routine becomes closer to impossible to achieve.
Yet this is where we must be strong: our ancestors built this land to offer their children and grandchildren, us, a homeland where we could live safely and develop. They made this land one of milk and honey, and today we defend it. But some day, when terror and evil will be at their weakest, it will also be in our hands to ensure that the gift we were given is provided with the certainty that future peace and prosperity are possible.
As we see the anger rise abroad against the doings of our State, mostly because of chronic misinformation, our own nerves are also pushed to the edge.
I share here a prayer, not naive, not unrealistic. I share a prayer for us to be strong enough to get back to the negotiating table with proper Palestinian partners, not only as a government but also as a people, once our army succeeds in bringing back the quiet. May this be the beginning of the end of the most frustrating conflict our people has every seen. May we be, in peace, the strong nation we are in war.