“We will win war” against coronavirus, Knesset speaker says

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz lights a torch at Israel's offical Independence Day ceremony on April 28, 2020 (photo credit: ELAD MALKA)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz lights a torch at Israel’s offical Independence Day ceremony on April 28, 2020 (photo credit: ELAD MALKA)


Knesset Speaker Benny Gantz compared the fight against the coronavirus to Israel’s wars in his keynote speech at Tuesday night’s Independence Day Torch Lighting Ceremony on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl.

“These are difficult times and we must brace ourselves for the times ahead that promise to be no less difficult,” Gantz said. “For seven decades, we faced tangible enemies who sought to destroy us, and in doing so, helped define our shared ethos – an ethos of existential struggle. The IDF and our security forces are prepared now, as always, to take on those threats, and, for that, I salute them.”

Gantz explained how there are ways in which COVID-19 is even worse than war.

“Now we face an unfamiliar foe, which doesn’t tell us apart –Jews, Arabs, Druze, and Circassian, Ultra-Orthodox, religious, and secular, people on the Right and the Left,” he said. “It poses an enormous human and medical challenge, and in the process shares a valuable lesson about social responsibility: namely, that we are all our brothers’ keepers. It is our solidarity and commonality of purpose that guarantee us victory. It is our communal spirit and sense of mutual responsibility that help us touch eternity.”

Gantz said that in the struggle against this foe, medical personnel, soldiers, policemen, emergency response teams, and the civil sector are all fighting shoulder to shoulder. He said they are Israel’s front line in that battle and that Israel all pray for their success, from their balconies and from the bottom of their hearts.

“We will win this war, and we will use the lessons we have gleaned from it to help us build a new ethos, and weave a new narrative of social solidarity and mutual responsibility – one that is defined from within, rather than by external enemies,” he said.

Gantz then called for “ensuring unity, while safeguarding democracy and protecting everybody’s rights.”

He then lit the first honorary torch of the ceremony, representing the Knesset.

Highlights of the ceremony included when singer Idan Raichel cried ahead of lighting a torch, when torches were lit in honor of doctors and nurses fighting Covid-19 and when a torch was lit in honor of Diaspora Jewry by Lori Palatnik, whose organization Momentum has brought 20,000 women to Israel from 32 countries.

“For Jewish women all over the world who in these times are keeping their families well and strong,” Palatnik said. “We will emerge from this time to become even stronger.”

As reported by The Jerusalem Post