Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, who spoke first during Wednesday`s special plenary session in honor of David Cameron, told the British PM that his visit to the legislature is taking place during a week in which ”deep tensions that are dividing Israeli society are apparent. Not every parliament deals in the course of one week with complex questions that deal with war and peace, religion and state and the rights of the majority compared with the obligation to protect the minority and allow it fair representation. The Knesset deals with such critical issues on a daily basis.”

During his speech, Speaker Edelstein said the free world is facing diplomatic and economic challenges. Turning to PM Cameron, Edelstein said: ”We are facing the nuclear armament of Iran, the greatest exporter of terror; we are facing the increasing inclination to use military force in domestic and international disputes; and we are witnessing the continued weakness of the international system and its lack of willingness to take a firm and determined stand in resolving conflicts and in the prevention of war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

”Economically, we have yet to get out of the crisis the West found itself in and we are at the peak of a struggle which you are surely losing sleep over; at its center is the reduction of the national debt in western countries and the development of a responsible and balanced monetary policy. Amid the challenges the free world is facing, I believe that a partnership of truth; an economic, moral partnership and a partnership of security between Britain and Israel is crucial and necessary like no other…You sir, have proven on a number of occasions that your position on the State of Israel does not derive from cost-benefit considerations, but from genuine friendship.”

Speaker Edelstein continued to say that over the past few weeks ”we have witnessed a murky wave that is aimed at hurting the State of Israel economically, together with an attempt to force on Israel the results of its negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Various international organizations, some of them posing as humanitarian organizations, are cooperating with anti-Semitic groups in order to damage Israel and consign it, as you accurately defined it, to an `international economic ghetto.` Israel`s economy is constantly threatened by boycotts, and to a large extent it was built [out of the need] to deal with them…I am familiar with your uncompromising stance regarding the boycott attempts, and I call on you and the leaders of the free world to act vigorously so that this ugly phenomenon will be eradicated. I urge you to block governmental support to organizations that call for a boycott on Israel and [take part] in its dissemination, and to [bring to justice] all the elements that are spreading hatred and racism.”

Addressing the negotiations with the Palestinians, Speaker Edelstein said Israel has ”proven its willingness to make painful concessions, but it will not agree to bear the price of peace on its own. Society in Israel is prepared to pay a heavy price, but it also demands real and fair compensation; compensation that will guarantee life and not death; compensation that will ensure a better future for our children and not a life filled with fears and concerns.”