On 9 June, Israeli president Reuven Rivlin addressed Israeli and international government officials at the Herzliya Conference, an annual gathering centered on Israeli security and global policy. In his speech, Rivlin referred to the state’s shifting demographics as the “new Israeli order.” He outlined the four main demographic groups in Israel as follows: secular Jews, religious Zionist Jews, ultra-Orthodox Jews, and Palestinian citizens of Israel. He called on Israelis to build partnerships between one another to achieve a binational state, arguing that these should rest on four pillars: a sense of security for each sector; shared responsibility for Israeli society and the state; equity and equality; and, creation of a shared Israeli character.
Rivlin’s speech starkly contrasted with those of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Isaac Herzog, which focused on pursuing a two-state solution. At a session titled “Towards a Two-State Solution or a One-State Eventuality,” Herzog warned of the emerging binational “threat” in Israel, stating “I don’t want 61 Palestinian MKs in Israel’s Knesset. I don’t want a Palestinian prime minister in Israel. . . . I don’t want them to change the name of my country to Isra-stine.”
With the Joint Arab List emerging as the third largest party in Israel’s March 2015 elections and Israel’s occupation infrastructure continuing to encroach on Palestinian land and other assets, a two-state solution is becoming unimaginable. Rivlin has emerged as one of the few Jewish leaders willing to discuss the fact that Israel has created a one-state reality, as reflected in this speech.
Presented below are excerpts from Rivlin’s Herzliya Conference address. The full transcript is available at www.president.gov.il.