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President Rivlin speaks to Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Support for Israel in the United States has never been, and must not become, a party political issue. During the elections season, it is my deep hope that the close relationship between Israel and the United States remains beyond debate.

President Reuven Rivlin welcomed a delegation of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, led by the organization's Chairman Stephen M. Greenberg, and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein. The delegation is visiting Israel during their 42nd Annual Leadership Mission to Israel.

"Each of you represent organizations and communities which are proud to be Jewish, proud to be American, and proud to stand with Israel," said the President as he welcomed the delegation, and added, "Your communities are an important bridge between Israel, and the largest Jewish community in the Diaspora."

The President stressed the importance of bi-partisan support for Israel in the United States, especially during the election season. He said, "Many of you have different political views, support different candidates, and possibly vote for different political parties. But whichever party or candidate you support, there are important issues on which everyone must agree. Support for Israel in the United States has never been, and must not become, a party political issue. During the elections season, it is my deep hope that the close relationship between Israel and the United States remains beyond debate. American friends of Israel should be able to feel free to express their democratic right and vote as they want, and know that whatever happens the bonds between Israel and the US are strong."

The President also noted the importance of facing the rising threat of anti-Semitism. He said, "We must also stand united in the fight against anti-Semitism. Across the world we are seeing a rise in this old, and new disease, and there is more and more pressure to boycott the world's only Jewish state. We must stand firm against these threats; Israel is your partner in this fight."

President Rivlin meets US President Obama in the White House

​President Rivlin: We are very grateful for your declaration about the need to fight extremism wherever it is. We have no war with Islam, we have a war with those who use ideas to create extremism and threats to the all innocent people of the world.

President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin, visited the White House , and were greeted by US President Barack Obama and his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama.
At the beginning of their meeting, the two Presidents gave statements to the media in the Oval Office, and then continued on to hold a working meeting.

President Obama welcomed President Rivlin on his arrival to the White House and noted that he was pleased to host him and his wife at the traditional White House Chanukah party. President Obama emphasized the importance of the friendship between the two countries and the US’s commitment to Israel's security and said, "It is a wonderful pleasure to greet and welcome President Rivlin on his first trip to the Oval Office as President of Israel, this gives us an opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bonds between our two countries and our two peoples." President Obama added, "We consider our commitment to Israel's security to be one of the most important principles of American foreign policy, it is one of the shared by Democrats and Republicans alike."

President Obama stressed that he was especially proud of the security and intelligence cooperation between the United States and Israel, and stated that during his meeting with President Rivlin he would discuss the efforts to help build a foundation for maintaining the long term security of Israel. President Obama emphasized his strong condemnation of the recent violence that the citizens of Israel had faced, and said, "We will have the opportunity to discuss the challenges that Israel faces internally and the ways in which we can be helpful in tamping down tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. Although obviously this is a time in which the prospects of serious peace may seem distant, it is important that we continue to try, and I know that President Rivlin has made it one of his hallmarks to improve dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, and Arab Israeli citizens and the larger majority. We very much appreciate the work he has done there."

At the end of his remarks, President Obama welcomed President Rivlin once again and said, "You are among friends, and we are glad you could come and celebrate Hanukkah with us, welcome."

President Rivlin thanked President Obama for his invitation to the White House and the warm reception he received, and said that the United States was Israel's greatest friend, "We are facing the future and we would like at the same time to thank you from the bottom of our hearts, the people of Israel, for what you have done over the last years, and for the financial, diplomatic, and military help you have given us. You have given us the ability to stand against the threats of today, and of tomorrow."

President Rivlin stressed the common position of the United States and Israel against fundamentalism and said, "I would like also to say that we are very grateful to you for your declaration about the need to fight extremism wherever it is, and we are going hand-in-hand with you in those ideas. We have no war with Islam, we have a war against those who are using ideas to create extremism and threats to the all innocent people of the world."

At the end of his speech, President Rivlin told President Obama, "Later on we will light the Chanukah candles, and you know the Jewish Menorah has eight candles, four on each side, and in the middle we have what we call the Shamash, the leader, with which we light all the other candles. We know Mr President, that you have lit the candle for the last seven years to show the right way for your people, and for the entire world, and we are very sure that the eighth candle that you will light in the next year will be same, and show the whole world how to fight what we should not accept."

During the meeting that took place after the official statements, the Presidents spoke about the mutual commitment to the relationship between the two countries and President Obama reiterated the United States' commitment to Israel's security. The two also discussed the ongoing talks between the two countries regarding the renewed understandings about ten more years of military aid to Israel, which were renewed last week. President Rivlin and President Obama went on to discuss the regional challenges facing Israel and the world, including the civil war in Syria and the Islamic State. The two Presidents expressed their common concern in light of the wave of ongoing terror in Israel and the importance of taking significant steps in order to alleviate the tensions and restore order, both in words and actions, by both sides. President Obama expressed his appreciation for President Rivlin’s stance on equal rights for all citizens of the State of Israel and stressed that the United States would continue to urge and encourage Israel and the Palestinians to take significant measures necessary to enable peace.

The Presidents and First-Ladies then went on to light the fourth candle of Chanukah, at the traditional White House Chanukah party. President Obama noted at the event that he was proud and happy to host President Rivlin and his wife, adding that Chanukah was a symbol of the struggle for freedom and for freedom of religion.

President Rivlin said, "Standing here, next to the Menorah, we remember the brave Maccabees. We remember they did not fight 'against', they fought 'for’ - for liberty, for freedom of religion, for their traditions, for our traditions, for their ability to celebrate their own identity. Chanukah is the holiday of spiritual activism. It is a holiday which represents the spirit of the human being, created equally in the Image of God."

The President concluded by saying that he would light the candles in prayer and hope that someday freedom of religion, culture and moral freedom would be the right of all citizens of the world without exception, and wished the guests a Happy Chanukah.

PM Netanyahu and President Rivlin on the terrorist attacks in Paris

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement regarding the terrorist attacks in Paris:

"On behalf of the people and Government of Israel, I extend our deepest sympathies to the people of France and to the families of those who were brutally murdered in Paris last night. We also extend our wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded.

Israel stands shoulder-to-shoulder with France in this common battle against militant Islamic terrorism. I've instructed Israel's security and intelligence forces to assist their French counterparts and their counterparts from other European countries in any way possible.

Terrorism is the deliberate and systematic targeting of civilians. It can never be justified. Terrorism must always be condemned. It must always be fought. Innocent people in Paris, like those in London, Madrid, Mumbai, Buenos Aires and Jerusalem, are the victims of militant Islamic terrorism, not its cause. As I've said for many years, militant Islamic terrorism attacks our societies because it wants to destroy our civilization and our values.

I call on the entire civilized world to unite to defeat the plague of worldwide terrorism. An attack on any one of us should be seen as an attack on all of us. All terrorism must be condemned and fought equally with unwavering determination. It's only with this moral clarity that the forces of civilization will defeat the savagery of terrorism."

President Reuven Rivlin this evening issued the following statement in relation to the terror attacks which had taken place in Paris

“We are deeply grieved by the murderous terrorist attack yesterday, in the heart of Paris. On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I send my sincere condolences to the French people and to the families who lost their loved ones.

"The State of Israel stands alongside you in your uncompromising struggle against terrorism.
“Terrorism strikes indiscriminately, striking and killing the innocent. We, citizens of the free world, in the face of this threat, we stand united in our struggle against those who seek to kill and maim, and to use violence and destruction.
“Our prayers are with the injured for a swift and full recovery.”

President Rivlin meets with former US President Clinton

​The two spoke at length about the shared challenges posed by recent regional developments, and the impact of the situation on daily life in Israel.

President Reuven Rivlin met at his office in Jerusalem, with 42nd President of the United States of America, Bill Clinton.

President Rivlin warmly welcomed former President Clinton, and thanked him for his visit. He said, "You are a true friend of the State of Israel, and your visit during this time is a clear testament to that."
This is the third meeting between former President Clinton and President Rivlin since the latter took office - following on from their meetings in New York, and Singapore.
During the meeting the two spoke at length about the shared challenges posed by recent regional developments, and the impact of the situation on daily life in Israel.

President Rivlin addresses Foreign Press Association

President Rivlin began by speaking to the members of the media about the current escalation in Jerusalem, while at the time of the President’s address a terrorist knife attack took place in the Old City of Jerusalem.

​President Revuen Rivlin addressed a special meeting at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel, of the Foreign Press Association, which represents foreign journalists based in Israel.

President Rivlin said, “We are sitting now just a few hundred yards from the Old City of Jerusalem; holy to people of faith, important to the students of history, and at the moment at the center of your work as journalists covering Israel. What has happened in the city over the past few days and weeks is heartbreaking and must be strongly condemned. Let me be clear; those who wish to turn the tragedy between us into a religious war have blood on their hands. We hear again and again, lies about Israel's intentions toward the holy mountain - holy to Jews and Muslims. So again, I say clearly, Israel has no intention to change the status quo. But this status quo - this important understanding - needs two sides to keep it.”
President Rivlin stressed that Israel would “continue to respect Muslim prayer at the site, the Mosque and the Shrine. But Muslims must respect the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, the Jews who live in Jerusalem, and the Jews who visit its holy sites. Only then can we begin – Jews, Muslims, and Christians - to live like we did before, together in the city of Jerusalem and all the holy land.”
Speaking of his work since taking office, President Rivlin said, “Since my election as President of Israel, at the very top of my agenda has been bringing together the different communities, and people, of the State of Israel; to create a common civil language for the future Israeli society; to be sure that everyone from every community feels part of the Israeli experience, and shares in the Israeli hope. This is a social challenge; an economic challenge; and a strategic challenge; of our ability to strengthen Israel - as a democratic state, and a Jewish state - as a state which grants equality and freedom to all its citizens, while maintaining its national identity as the state of the Jewish People."
The President stressed that “Partnership must begin with dialogue. Dialogue is not just words, it is the building of mutual understanding and respect.” He noted that “The need for dialogue does not end at our gates. We and the Palestinians will not be able to move one step forward without speaking to each other directly. We and the Palestinians will not be able to hold negotiations and reach an agreement without a basic confidence in our ability to sit together as partners.”
He noted to the journalists, that “A free and open press is an integral part of this conversation - both inside of Israel and around the world. Your freedom to write and report is part of our freedom to hear and be heard. The international media must not allow the many voices of Israeli society to be lost behind the few who shout the loudest.”

Statements by President Rivlin and PM Netanyahu on terror attack

Tonight, bloodthirsty murderers claimed the lives of a mother and a father, leaving their young children orphaned. The heart breaks at the magnitude of such cruelty and hatred.

President Reuven Rivlin this evening made the following comment regarding the terrorist attack this evening, in which two young parents were murdered, and their young children were injured.

The President said:

"Tonight, bloodthirsty murderers claimed the lives of a mother and a father, leaving their young children orphaned. The heart breaks at the magnitude of such cruelty and hatred.

We will continue in our brave and unwavering fight against this cruel and heinous terrorism - of this our enemies can be sure. This is our duty, and the only way we can ensure the right of the orphans who lost their parents tonight, along with the right of all our children and grandchildren, to live with security and in peace, everywhere in the Land of Israel.

We pray for the speedy recovery of the injured children - our hearts and thoughts are with them."

In response to the terrorist attack in Samaria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:

"This is a difficult day for the State of Israel. We are witness to an especially heinous and shocking murder in which parents were murdered, leaving four young orphans. My heart is with the children, all of our hearts are with the children and the family. The killers knew that they were murdering a mother and father, the children were there. It has been proven again that the wild Palestinian incitement leads to acts of terrorism and murder such as we have seen this evening. I am about to speak with the Defense Minister, the IDF Chief-of-Staff and the Director of the ISA about the steps we will take not only to apprehend the murderers but also to increase security for all Israeli citizens."

The victims have been identified as Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin of Neria. Four of their children, aged 4 months to 9 years, were in the car at the time of the attack and were treated for shock.

President Rivlin's greetings for the New Year 5776

On behalf of all the people in Israel, I send you my best wishes for a sweet new year. Israel faces many challenges both internally and externally which we can and will overcome - as we have done many times before.

As we approach the High Holidays, on behalf of all the people in Israel, I send you my best wishes for a sweet new year.

We know that as we celebrate the New Year, it is also a time for soul searching and prayer. Tradition teaches that all mankind pass before God, and are prescribed for a good or bad year. Then, on Yom Kippur, the holiest of days, the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem and offer three prayers. First for himself and his family. Second for his tribe, and only then did he pray for all the people. It seems strange - even wrong - for the High Priest to begin by praying for himself before praying for others. The Sages answer that in order to truly represent the whole people, in order to truly place the prayers of the nation before God, the High Priest must first offer his own prayers. Because only when we are sure of our own path can we hope to appreciate the needs, and aspirations of others.

Israel faces many challenges both internally and externally; social challenges, economic challenges, and of course security challenges. Challenges which we can and will overcome - as we have done many times before. To do so however, we must work internally to strengthen the bonds between us, between the different communities that make up the Israeli people, and between our brothers and sisters, friends and supporters of Israel around the world.

Just as the High Priest did, I hope that we all may greet the New Year, 5776, sure of our own path, as individuals, as people, and as a nation.

May we all be written in the Book of Life, for a happy, healthy and sweet year,

Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin,
President of the State of Israel

President Rivlin meets delegation of Conservative British MPs

​A nuclear Iran is not our only concern; we are greatly worried by Iran's ongoing support for terrorism across the region. I thank you as those who are working to keep Israel far from any such existential threat.
President Rivlin with the leader of the delegation of British Conservative MPs, the Rt. Hon. Sir Eric Pickles.

President Reuven Rivlin met with a delegation of British Conservative Members of Parliament hosted by Conservative Friends of Israel, led by The Rt. Hon. Sir Eric Pickles.
The President opened his remarks by noting his appreciation for remarks recently made by British Prime Minister David Cameron on the need to confront terrorism and fundamentalism in society. He said, "The Prime Minister's words were deeply significant, and I want to express my appreciation."
The President added, "Israel currently faces a range of challenges. There is cross-party concern over the possibility of a nuclear Iran, however this is not our only concern, as we are greatly worried by Iran's ongoing support for terrorism across the region. Sadly, we have a difference of opinion on this with our friends in Europe and the USA, and I thank you as those who are working to keep Israel far from any such existential threat."
Sir Eric Pickles responded by thanking the President for his warm welcome and said, "Mr. President, I became a Member of Parliament in 1992 and on my first day in office I joined the Conservative Friends of Israel. We are here as a delegation of past ministers and indeed future ministers, to proudly show our friendship with Israel. Israel is a democracy amid a difficult region of bloodshed and dictatorships and a lack of human rights. It is a matter of pride that Israeli courts are independent of the government, can challenge the government and overturn decisions. We are delighted by the fact our bilateral trade has increased, indeed doubled in recent years, and that we see cooperation not only in security but in biotech, information technology, and many other fields."

President Rivlin & PM Netanyahu on Israeli citizens being held in Gaza

Avraham Mengistu, 29, of Ashkelon has been missing since September 2014 after crossing into Gaza, presumed being held by Hamas. A second Israeli citizen, a Bedouin resident of the south, is also reported missing in Gaza.

President Reuven Rivlin issued the following statement on July 9, 2015:

"This is a painful situation which I, together with the relevant officials at the President's Office, have been following closely since it began.

I am in contact with the Mengistu family and I know that all the relevant authorities have been working tirelessly, and monitoring the issue closely, from the moment Avraham crossed over the fence. This is a humanitarian issue, and we expect those holding him to behave accordingly and return him in good health. According to the information which has arisen, Mengistu is being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. We will continue to make every effort in order to bring an end to this incident, as soon as possible."

PM Netanyahu on two Israelis who crossed into Gaza

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement :

"We are working to return the two Israelis who crossed the fence into Gaza. We hold Hamas responsible for their welfare. I have appointed a representative to coordinate all activity on the issue and to be in contact with the families. Yesterday I spoke with the parents and siblings of Avraham Mengistu and I told them that from as soon as the incident became known we have spared no effort to return him to Israel. We agreed to meet soon. I expect the international community, which expresses its concern over the humanitarian situation in Gaza, to issue a clear call for these citizens to be released and to see to their return."

President Rivlin accedes to PM Netanyahu's request for extension to form new government

​President Rivlin acceded to the request and extended the prime minister an additional 14 days to form the new government, in accordance with Article 8 of Basic Law: The

President Reuven Rivlin, at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and – pursuant to Article 8 of Basic Law: The Government – acceded to the latter's request that he be granted an additional 14 days in which to form a government.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "Mr. President, I have come this morning to request an extension so that I may complete the work of forming a government. We have made progress and are on the way to forming a government. However, I require additional time in order for the government to be stable and so that we might reach agreement on important issues that will aid us in meeting the challenges facing the State of Israel."
President Rivlin said, "Mr. Prime Minister, there being no change in the circumstances regarding the recommendation according to which I assigned the responsibility to you, and in the wake of your updating me about your ability to complete the work of forming a government within the allotted time, I hereby give you an extension of 14 days in order to complete the formation of a government. The President's consideration is not limited in giving an extension but [the total period] cannot be longer than the 42 days provided by law. I wish you success in your work. The entire people of Israel hope that a government will be established; indeed, a transition government has not received the confidence of the Knesset and is viewed by the public as needing to be dealt with. I hope that in the coming days you will succeed in forming a stable government for the State of Israel."
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