Israeli president attacks government assault on state bodies

In an unusually blunt address to parliament, Israel's president accused the government Monday of delegitimizing vital democratic institutions as part of a campaign of stifling opposition.

President Reuven Rivlin opened the winter session of parliament with a scathing critique of his former political home — the Likud Party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. To them, he said, "everything is political."

Israel's president fills a mostly ceremonial role and rarely delves into partisan bickering. But Rivlin chose to focus on the growing divisions in Israeli society, pinning much of the blame on the country's leaders — and its embattled prime minister.