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Wednesday, 2 August, 2000, 06:26 GMT 07:26 UK
Katsav seeks domestic peace
Israeli President Moshe Katsav
New President Moshe Katsav relishes his success
New Israeli President Moshe Katsav said in his inauguration speech that he had been elected to create "domestic peace", in view of the tension created by the peace process. The following are excerpts from his speech to parliament, the Knesset, as broadcast live by Israel radio:

You have elected me as Israel's eighth president and the first to have immigrated to Israel after the establishment of the state. I am also the first Israeli president in the 21st century, a century harbouring many uncertainties...

Israeli society is undergoing shock-waves; hatred and sharp conflicts are developing, and we sometimes stand helpless and unable to find any rest and solution.
Murdered Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin: assassination shocked the nation

The murder of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin caused great shock. We all cried during the mourning period and continue to shed tears...

Have we learned all the necessary lessons from that despicable murder? Have Israeli society and the entire leadership learned all the necessary lessons from that terrible murder?

If there is anybody among us who allows himself to say that he is not responsible and that he does not have to learn any lessons, that person is sowing the seeds of calamity. All of us, without exception, are obliged to draw the proper lessons.

Mounting rifts over peace

In the next few years, the citizens of Israel, the Israeli Knesset and the government will decide the status of Jerusalem as a united city under Israeli sovereignty.


You have been striving for years to bring peace with our neighbours outside. I believe that you have elected me in order to bring domestic peace

During this period, the future of the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley will be decided in a referendum. Our most important border is the eastern border.

The answer to the issues of the right of return and the status of the Palestinian entity could cause great upheaval among Israeli society and increase the tensions and rifts. Are we capable of making these decisions wisely, judiciously and responsibly?

You have been striving for years to bring peace with our neighbours outside. I believe that you have elected me in order to bring domestic peace...

Israeli Arabs are equals

There is also tension between veteran Israelis and new immigrants in some towns, and tension between the one million Israeli Arabs and the rest of Israel's citizens.


All the members of this House have more in common than divides them... Let us show the beautiful face of Israeli society and the State of Israel

I want to take this opportunity to tell the Israeli Arab citizens that we belong to the second generation of Israelis...

There is absolutely no doubt that the Arab Israeli citizens are entitled to equality and full participation in Israeli society. The State of Israel is also the state of the Arab citizens. Let us preserve it and defend it and build it together...

All the members of this House have more in common than divides them. Israel is much more beautiful than it appears to be. Let us show the beautiful face of Israeli society and the State of Israel...

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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01 Aug 00 | Middle East
Katsav sworn in amid controversy
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