The Jerusalem Post
Herzog: coexistence in lod is coexistence in israel
“lod is the state of israel, and the state of israel is lod,” president isaac herzog said thursday during a visit with his wife, michal, to the mixed arab-jewish city.
“if we do not succeed in living together in lod, we will not succeed in living together in the whole of israel. if there is coexistence in lod, there will be coexistence in the whole of israel.”
in may, lod was the scene of riots that were so violent, there were fears the situation might explode into civil war. the chaos was brought under control, but there are still simmering resentments on both sides.
Fortunately, there is also friendship and cooperation, something the herzogs witnessed during their visit.
“What i saw in lod was great love, but also great pain,” herzog said. “We have to do everything possible to put life back on track.”
the herzogs toured the city with mayor yair revivo, who has had a few unpleasant run-ins with his arab constituents.
Coexistence was not an edict, but a partnership, herzog said.
“if we do not recognize that lod is a respected city in the heart of israel, which needs all the different groups that live in the city to develop and flourish, we will have failed in our mission,” he said.
referring to a pledge he made at his swearing-in ceremony in the Knesset last Wednesday, herzog said he would leave the Knesset and the president’s residence to journey throughout the country. lod, which is currently prominent in the national consciousness, was the first station on the journey because it is on the brink of the social divide, he said.
lod is not the only city in which there are social rifts, but it is the most varied representative of the incredible israeli social mosaic, herzog said.
in making lod his first stop, herzog had demonstrated the impact of the chaos that had resulted from clashes between jews and arabs, revivo said.
despite the turmoil, the situation was much calmer than it had been, and the difficult events that led to a major crisis in the attitudes of jews and arabs toward each other were now history, he said, adding that tolerance and peace have begun to prevail.
revivo spoke about plans for future construction and the eradication of crime as part of endeavors to develop the city.