In a blunt and oft-interrupted speech before the Knesset plenum, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed his opposition: ‘You are constantly grousing, attacking and nitpicking…but you know deep down that in democratic elections, we will win.” On peace with the Palestinian government: “We are willing to negotiate, as long as they don’t side with Hamas.”

Netanyahu speaks at the Knesset

Netanyahu speaks at the Knesset Photo Credit: Amos ben Gershom, GPO/ Channel 2 News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the Knesset’s annual opening winter assembly on Monday and delivered a speech that caused an uproar in the Knesset plenum and which has since been dubbed “the pickle speech:” “You are constantly grousing [literally- pickling], attacking and nitpicking,” he said to his opposition. “You deal with nonsense, but you know deep down that in democratic elections, we will win.”

“Great challenges lie ahead of us,” Netanyahu said at the start of his speech. “We are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the same Iran that continues to work towards our destruction on a daily basis. At the same time, our hands reach out to all of our neighbors in peace. We desire true peace, not fake reconciliation with those who continue to evict us from here. Therefore we are willing to negotiate with the Palestinian government, as long as it does not side with Hamas who calls for our destruction.”

Netanyahu added that a lasting peace requires that all territory west of the Jordan River remain in Israel’s hands. “But true peace does not obligate anyone to be uprooted from their homes- Arab or Jewish.” After he was interrupted by members of the opposition, Netanyahu continued: “Last year, I visited all of the continents, I met dozens of leaders there and in Israel,” he said. “They not only appreciate us- they admire us for our consistent and determined war on terror. But there are also opposite trends- of de-legitimization, of boycotts. Many of you in the coalition and in the opposition are fighting these trends.” To that he added, “I salute President Trump for his decision to withdraw from UNESCO. We also have nothing to look for in that theater of absurdity. “

“I know that here, at home, there are others who need to be convinced. The industry of despondency is still there and it has respected representatives in this house and in the media. Lately there is innovation- the industry of despondency has even grown a new branch- grousers (literally- pickles). They say that there is a feeling of sourness in the public. And there’s another fashionable word in their dictionary: incitement. To complain about illegal and tendentious leaks- that is incitement? To criticize an adviser’s illegal deal worth millions of tax dollars- that’s incitement? When one camp expresses its opinion, it’s freedom of speech, when the other does it’s incitement. I respect democracy, but not hypocrisy.”