The Knesset Plenum held a special meeting on Monday in honor of the memory of the state`s visionary, Theodor Herzl. Speaker of the

Knesset Yuli-Yoel Edelstein said during the session that ”eleven years ago, the law to mark his memory and actions was approved here, and

now we are holding this discussion on the day of his Hebrew birthday – on the 10th of Iyar. Theodor Herzl, who passed away in 1904, was a

rare combination of a thinker and an activist; a theoretician, a journalist, a publicist, a diplomat, a businessman and a man of action.”

”He challenged the normal ways of thinking regarding the ideas of `utopia` and `reality`. He succeeded in putting to a mighty test,

perhaps unprecedented, the meaning of `vision` and proved that this concept does not need to be a hope for the end of days, but that it

is possible and necessary to translate it into a concrete plan of action.”

Edelstein continued to say that ”it is hard to think of many people in our history, maybe even since the days of the prophets, who

succeeded in having such foresight and even to express out loud their far-reaching vision without being thought of, as we call it today,

as delusional.”

”Members of Knesset, it is not for nothing that the only picture that hangs here, in this hallowed hall, is the picture of Herzl. Zionism

has had many leaders, some of them political and some of them spiritual, but a true visionary, a true revolutionary – there has only been

one. It would be appropriate if we continue to gain inspiration from Theodore Herzl. May his memory be blessed and may his glorious

Zionist heritage be a light for our steps.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned the Ethiopian-Israeli protest in his speech. ”We must maintain the inner unity amongst

ourselves and to take care of the needs of all segments of society. We all have rights, but we also have obligations, and they are to

obey the laws and to not resort to violence. We must give true equal rights to all of our citizens and children.”

”It is our obligation to fight against racism and discrimination in every way and from every stage. Many people have told me about the

children and adults who fear going out to the streets because they fear the police, and we also need to fix that. The Israeli police are

determined to completely change the situation and they already have guidelines for the field. We will uproot arbitrary violence by police

against the group from amongst ourselves and we will fight with all our strength against instances of racism and discrimination,” added

the prime minister.

”The events of the past few days have taught us that there is a far deeper problem that takes more focus and more resources. We must

understand that Israelis from an Ethiopian origin are Israelis in every way.”

MK Isaac Herzog, head of the Zionist Camp said ”First and foremost, the shadow of conflict with our neighbors in this land threatens our

existence. The damage and threat to the security of the citizens of Israel, the danger to democracy and to the Jewish nature of the state

that it brings to our doors and the moral necessity that is imposed upon us to make every effort to stop the malignant control of another

nation are the topics that have been illogically pushed off from the consciousness and the political agenda of Israel. Obviously, Iran`s

dangerous aspirations, which threaten Israel and world peace, the multi-faceted Islamic radicalism and terror, the open anti-Semitism

around the world, the increasing isolation of Israel and the worrying instances of boycott must be fought against with all our strength.

All of these are influenced by our relations with the Palestinians and we must again take the initiative to try every way to regulate our

relations with them in a peace process.”

”Simultaneous with the outside threats that are posed to us, heavy tasks rest on our shoulders from within the defended and safe borders

of our country: safeguarding the national home of our nation while fulfilling our commitment to full equality for all citizens without

distinction, enhancing the internal quality of the state and the moral and social image through education, culture, values and the

fortification of democracy, reducing the gaps, healing the rifts and establishing social justice; we must ensure that there will be no be

painful examples such as the distress of the Ethiopian community that has come again to our consciousness intensely and horribly in the

last few days,” he added.

”This example of young Jews dreaming and speaking Hebrew from the moment of their birth, but who feel humiliated and excluded in their

home is a warning sign that must be taken seriously and tackled urgently. We must remember – racism is racism is racism, and anyone who

aids and abets it from any part of the political spectrum endangers and undermines the wonderful human fabric that we take part in.”