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President Rivlin visits Christian leaders in Jerusalem

President Rivlin: "An attack on your holy sites is like an attack on our holy sites, and such crimes must never be allowed to happen."

President Reuven Rivlin visited the Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem in the Old City, for a meeting with the heads of Christian Churches in Israel. The President was received warmly by Greek Patriarch Theophilos III, who presented the President to the assembled Church leaders. This is the first visit of an Israeli president to the site since the visit of President Navon over 30 years ago.
Greek Patriarch Theophilos III began by welcoming the President, he said, "We are grateful for your visit during this season when the Christian community is celebrating the festival of Pascha (Easter). The close relationship between Passover (Pesach) and Easter (Pascha) is an important reminder to us all, of the deep bonds that unite the children of Abraham. Jews, Christians, and Muslims have lived here side by side for centuries, always seeking mutual understanding, for the mutual well-being in our region. In the particularly turbulent current situation of the Middle East, we know there is no better alternative than to live together in genuine harmony. We wish to acknowledge and commend you Mr. President for the strong stance you have taken against religious bigotry of any kind, and for the actions you have taken against crimes targeting religious shrines, monuments and holy places."
Following his address, the Patriarch presented the President with a beautiful Menorah (Candelabra), and a copy of "Duties of the Heart", by 11th Century Jewish philosopher, Bahya Ibn Pakuda.
The President thanked the Patriarch, and noted that as the Jewish community had just finished celebrating the festival of Passover, "When the People of Israel were slaves in Egypt, the first thing Moses asked for was not to ease the hard work, but for the freedom of worship. The trigger to the Exodus from Egypt was the demand of the Hebrews to 'Let us worship our God'."
The President stressed, "Religious freedom is a value dear to the State of Israel as a Jewish and Democratic state. And I am proud of our obligation, and I reaffirm that obligation to freedom of worship for all denominations and communities. We cannot allow hate crimes against people or buildings of faith. An attack on your holy sites, is like an attack on our holy sites, and Israel's law enforcement must deal with such crimes accordingly. We live in a complex political and religious reality, especially here in Jerusalem - the microcosm of the Middle East. It is our shared duty to have proper and respectful communication between us. For many years our relations have been kept through the Status-Quo. The Status-Quo is not only a formal obligation, it is an expression of understanding, and of the delicate balance of living in a diverse community. I believe that despite the differences and challenges, we can all establish trust, partnership, and mutual respect as people of faith."
Following the President's address, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal spoke. He said, "We pray that during your term in office, peace will be implemented between peoples, based on justice, dignity, and security. There is a great threat to the Christian communities in the Middle East. Yet there is an embarrassed silence about Christians being crucified, beheaded, stoned and shot in country after country. We must lament the slaughter of Christians in the presence of the indifference of world leaders. We hope and pray that God will impart peace on our peoples in the Middle East, and across the world."
At the conclusion of the gathering, the President presented the Greek Patriarch with an engraving of an ancient coin from Jerusalem, before signing the visitors’ book quoting the Book of Psalms, (122:6), "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, may those who love her prosper."

President Rivlin meets Israel's ambassadors to Latin America

The growing economic relations between Israel and Latin America is a source of pride to the Israeli economy and testament to its strength as a hothouse of innovation and entrepreneurship.

President Reuven Rivlin met at the President's Residence with 20 Israeli ambassadors to Latin America, both currently serving and newly appointed.

The President thanked the ambassadors for their efforts and said, "I salute you, who serve as our representatives in states where such representation is so needed, at times under difficult conditions and far from home. The people of Israel owe you a debt of gratitude. The growing economic relations between Israel and Latin America is a source of pride to the Israeli economy and testament to its strength as a hothouse of innovation and entrepreneurship. I view this meeting as a unique opportunity for the State of Israel to thank each of you for the work you do in the countries in which you represent our country."

Modi Ephraim, Deputy Director General of the Foreign Ministry's Division for Central and South America and Head of the Political Directorate, presented the ambassadors, saying: "The ambassador here serve in the Latin American continent. This is a friendly continent, with which we have had good relations throughout the years. There are however several countries which are more critical. There are many anti-Israeli initiatives and unfortunately also manifestations of antisemitism which we had not witnessed before. We are striving to improve Israel's position in the region, and have been accepted as an observer in the Pacific Alliance, a growing economic bloc in the continent. Israel is today a leader in innovation and cooperation, in the fields of agriculture and security."

President Rivlin eulogizes victims of Paris attack

​Regardless of what may be the sick motives of terrorists, it is beholden upon the leaders of Europe to act, and commit to firm measures to return a sense of security and safety to the Jews of Europe.

At the funeral ceremony today (13 January 2015) in Jerusalem, President Rivlin eulogized the victims of the terror attack on the kosher market in Paris:
"Dear families, Yoav, Yohan, Philippe, Francois-Michel, this is not how we wanted to welcome you to Israel. This is not how we wanted you to arrive in the Land of Israel, this is not how we wanted to see you come home, to the State of Israel, and to Jerusalem, its capital. We wanted you alive, we wanted for you, life.
At moments such as these, I stand before you, brokenhearted, shaken and in pain, and with me stands an entire nation.
Phillipe, you wanted to shop for the Sabbath, and what is more Jewish than preparing, shopping on a Friday, for the holy Sabbath day.
“My father is a hero”, wept Rafael, your son. “He was murdered, simply because he was a Jew.” What can we say to your dear wife Philippe? What can we say to your three young children, whose cries of ‘Daddy’ will be met with silence?
Francois-Michel, the apartment that you bought here in Israel, was ready for your arrival. You so wanted to make Aliyah (immigrate to Israel), to live here with us. But you will never now be able to affix a mezuzah upon the doorpost of your home in Israel. “What man is there, who has built a new house and has not yet inaugurated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in battle,” as it is written in the Torah. But for you, the war came to you, and the murderer’s hand destroyed everything.
Yoav, you were here, just two weeks ago in Jerusalem, for the first time. You stood at the Western Wall, you were photographed wrapped in the Israeli flag. Today, you are here for the second, and the final time. As a Jewish hero, at one with us.
Yohan, you could have got away, escaped, you could have run – but you did not surrender. You fought with the murderer, to save the life a three year old boy. You succeeded in that, but paid with your life. Just twenty years old, and already a hero.
Dear families, people of Israel. Philippe Braham, Yoav Hattab, Yohan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada, were murdered on the eve of the Sabbath, in a kosher supermarket in Paris, in cold blood, because they were Jewish. The murderer made sure to be in a Jewish shop, and only then did he carry out the massacre. This was pure, venomous evil, which stirs the very worst of memories. This is sheer hatred of Jews; abhorrent, dark and premeditated, which seeks to strike, wherever there is Jewish life. In Paris, in Jerusalem, in Toulouse, and in Tel Aviv. In Brussels, and in Mumbai. In the streets, and in the synagogues. In the schools, and in the local market. In the train stations, and in the museums.
Like many, I watched the millions who marched in the streets of France. It was a demonstration of deep solidarity which warmed my heart. While the last weeks and months have proven, that terror does not discriminate between blood, we cannot escape the fact that this terrorism, explicitly targets the Jewish people. Those wearing tzitzit (the tasseled four cornered garment), those wearing kippot (skullcaps), those eating kosher food, praying in synagogues, ‘students of the Torah’.
It would be dangerous to deny that we are talking about anti-Semitism, whether old or new. Regardless of what may be the sick motives of terrorists, it is beholden upon the leaders of Europe to act, and commit to firm measures to return a sense of security and safety to the Jews of Europe; in Toulouse, in Paris, in Brussels, or in Burgas.
We cannot allow it to be the case, that in the year 2015, seventy years since the end of the Second World War, Jews are afraid to walk in the streets of Europe with skullcaps and tzitzit. It cannot be allowed, that we should see in the news, frequent vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, of Jews being beaten, and of synagogues and communities under attack. It is no longer possible to ignore or remain ambiguous, or to act weakly or with leniency against the rabid anti-Semitic incitement. Ignorance and violence will not simply go away on their own.
My brothers and sisters, members of the French Jewish community, we have in recent years witnessed a strengthening and a tightening of the vibrant and strong connection between the Jewish community of France, and the State and citizens of Israel. This strong and close bond finds expression in times of joy and grief, in good times and in bad.
We stood here together, and accompanied on their final journey, Miriam Monsonego, Rabbi Yonatan Sandler, and his infant children, Gavriel and Ariyeh. And just last summer, the people of Israel stood as one, as they laid to rest Jordan Ben-Simon, a ‘lone soldier’ from France. I met his parents, and his sisters. Special people, a family committed to a love for Israel, Jewish tradition, and a love for the State of Israel.
At these difficult times, I have learned how much we truly are one people. I understand how important it is that we stay together, close together, regardless of geographical distance. And today too, we are brothers, members of one family, with heads bowed, with tears of sorrow. A bond which cannot be unraveled by time or distance. A bond of spirit and blood.
Much has been said since the murders, on the issue of the immigration to Israel of French Jewry. My dear brothers and sisters, Jewish citizens of France, you are welcome. Our land is your land, our home is your home, and we yearn to see you settle in Zion.
However, returning to your ancestral home need not be due to distress, out of desperation, because of destruction, or in the throes of terror and fear. Terror has never kept us down, and we do not want terror to subdue you. The Land of Israel is the land of choice. We want you to choose Israel, because of a love for Israel.
Dear families, aside the graves of your loved ones, we promise that we will continue to fight for your right to live as Jews – wherever you may be. We will continue to fight for your right to open up proudly the synagogues, to educate your children in the study of Torah, a love for Israel, and a responsibility to the world around them.
Jewish blood is not worthless. Human blood is not worthless. The earth will not cover the blood, nothing will cure the pain. Here, between Jerusalem’s mountains, upon Har HaMenuchot, we lay to rest our brothers who have come from afar, our brothers, sons of France, but also sons of Jerusalem. May they be of blessed memory."

PM Netanyahu’s remarks at the funeral
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s media Advisor)
We see the extent of your grief, the depth of your sorrow. When I embraced you in Paris, I told you that I am familiar with your agony, the anguish of partners, parents, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters who lost their beloved. On this day, when four new graves have been dug in the soil of Jerusalem, the entire State of Israel embraces you with love. These graves are the final resting place of Philippe, Yoav, Yohan and François-Michel.
Four dear, upstanding people who loved their fellows. Four people who, like the victims from Toulouse who are buried here, were murdered only because they were Jewish. Their lives were cut short in a frenzy of hatred by a despised murderer. But we shall not waste words on the contemptible killer, nor on those who slaughtered other innocents on French soil, as it is their actions that provide testimony of their murderous zeal, the poisonous fanaticism of the radical Islamic terrorist organizations that serves as the motivation for carrying out horrific acts around the world.
I have been saying this for many years, and I will say it again here today: they are not the enemies only of the Jewish people. They are the enemies of all humanity, and the time has come for all civilized people to unite and eliminate them from our midst.
I returned from Paris yesterday. I marched with leaders who came from all over the world. I think that most of them understand, or are beginning to, that radical Islamist terrorism is a real and present danger to the peace of the world we live in.
And there, in Paris, I witnessed once again the strength of spirit and the warmth of the Jewish community in France, a community that has made a great contribution to France, and is connected with every fiber of its being to the people of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the Land of Israel – the three-ply cord that has never been severed, which has ensured our existence and is the secret of our resurrection.
Therefore, at this time, we should focus on the great spirit that is present here, the spirit of Israel which is saying: you will never, ever defeat us. The secret of our nation’s strength is our internal unity, our faith and the mutual responsibility that binds us together. This is the source of our power, our resilience – the resilience of an ancient people that has overcome every obstacle and adversity, and has risen from the dirt.
Look around here in the mountains of Jerusalem. Today, thankfully, we have a state of our own – a thriving, modern state; a state that shines a bright light, like a moral beacon for the world; a state that takes responsibility for its own fate. And our President was right when he said that Jews have the right to live in many countries, and it is their right to live in perfect safety. But I believe that they know deep in their hearts that they have only one country, the State of Israel, the historic homeland that will accept them with open arms, like beloved children.
Today more than ever, Israel is our true home, and the more numerous we are, and the more united we are in our country, the stronger we are in our one and only state – and that is the hope of the entire Jewish nation.
May the souls of Philippe, Yoav, Yohan and François-Michel be bound in the bond of life.
May we be comforted by the prosperity of our people and the building of our country.

President Rivlin meets with Israeli ambassadors

​President Rivlin: We have no war with Islam, but a war with terror organizations that are sometimes driven and affected by it.

President Reuven Rivlin met with 43 Israeli ambassadors to European countries, as well as recently appointed ambassadors due to begin their diplomatic service in the near future.

Foreign Ministry Director Nissim Ben Shitrit, began the meeting by saying, "We are in a unique situation in Europe, where our representations are trying to deal as best as possible with issues sensitive to the State of Israel and the Israeli psyche, and act against anti-Semitism as a whole. Sitting here are the best delegates of the State of Israel, stationed in difficult countries that are at times both frustrating and challenging, but we do not have the luxury to give up and throw in the towel. We are in the midst of a struggle for Israel's existence without going to war ".

The President thanked the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and said, "You, who have come home for an hour - welcome to Jerusalem. Dear Ambassadors, each and every one of you is a hero in every sense of the word. Heroes, who do not always get to stand among friends and who stand firm and tall for us all. We are well established mainly thanks to you.

“You are here during a tense time both at home and abroad. You, who stand at the frontline, are faced with many questions. When we fight against terrorist organizations it is not always easy to explain why at times innocent bystanders are killed. Europe is dealing with radical Islam and all it entails, and only you can really explain where it comes from and in which direction it is going in.

“We need to sharpen our identity - not in order to distinguish ourselves, but to feel stronger and more confident to lend a hand, rooted in our uncompromising right to defend our own existence. The themes of identity, religious persecution, rights of minorities and ethnic groups to self-determination, seem more relevant than ever across the world. We have no war with Islam, but a war with terror organizations that are sometimes driven and affected by it. We have needed to define the identity of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, which is in one and equal breath both Jewish and democratic, and you have done this with dignity. We need to continue to speak out and insist that the Jewish State is the state of the Jewish people who have no other country."

The President referred to the calls for international investigations following Operation Protective Edge, and said, "The State of Israel is currently carrying out thorough investigations relating to Operation Protective Edge. IDF soldiers and officers have done, and are doing everything to protect Israeli citizens while maintaining international law under unparalleled complex conditions, including when attacks on civilians and soldiers are carried out from within the civilian population of Gaza.

“The IDF is capable of investigating itself thoroughly, reliably, with integrity and impartiality; and in cases when there has been a violation of the law, to prosecute the culprits. On the other hand, both the interrogators and those being questioned are our soldiers. There is no outside body that is examining the IDF and we should not paint a picture as if our soldiers are investigated by a hostile entity whose goal is to harm our officers, soldiers or our fighting spirit.”

The President concluded by saying: "We must learn to live together. Peace will come when we build trusting relationships between ourselves and understand that we are not doomed to live together but destined to live together".

President Rivlin hosts New Year's reception for Christian leaders

​President Rivlin: “May we all, Christians, Muslims, Jews, children of Abraham, together with all those of different faiths, see the fulfillment of the vision of the prophet Isaiah, that ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, and no longer learn war.’”

President Reuven Rivlin hosted the traditional, annual reception for leaders of Israel's Christian community leaders to mark the civil New Year. The event was attended by nine heads of various churches in Israel, and senior members of the community.

The President welcomed those attending and said, "Over the past months, we have been greatly concerned, by the on-going religious persecution and restrictions on freedom of worship for minorities in the Middle East. Because of their faith hundreds of thousands are being exiled, forcibly converted, attacked, and brutally murdered. This is a war against extremism. A war, being waged against those who want to spread a message of freedom of worship and coexistence, by those who carry the flag of destruction and hatred.

"This is a cause of great worry and pain for all us. We share the Psalms of King David, the words of the Prophets, and a love for Jerusalem, and the Holy Land. As we know, we are all created in the image of God. As the prophet Malachi wrote, "Do we not, all have one Father? Did not one God create us?" We will continue to live together, and build bridges of peace, here, in the land of our fathers.

"May we all, Christians, Muslims, Jews, children of Abraham, together with all those of different faiths, see the fulfillment of the vision of the prophet Isaiah, that ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, and no longer learn war.’ Let 2015 be a year of partnership and friendship. Let it be a year of understanding and mutual respect. I wish you all a peaceful and happy New Year."

Also speaking at the event was Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Theophilos III. The Greek Patriarch said, "In this season in particular, the world, caught up in the darkness of violence, poverty, persecution and war, looks to us, the communities of the Holy Land for renewed hope and inspiration. Our precise paths as political and religious leaders may be different, but first and foremost, our concern is always our people. In this region, we recognize the diversity of the peoples and understand that the harmonious coexistence of the Abrahamic faiths is essential to the integrity of the Holy Land."

President Rivlin meets with Quartet Representative Blair

​President Rivlin: Israel sees you as a friend with whom we see eye to eye on the problems and obstacles we face across the region.

President Reuven Rivlin held a working meeting at the President's Residence with Quartet Middle East Representative Tony Blair.
At the start of the meeting, President Rivlin stated: “Israel sees you as a friend with whom we see eye to eye on the problems and obstacles we face across the region. As you are aware, Israel has no war with Islam, nor do we wish for one. Israel is our homeland, the homeland of the Jewish people and the homeland of all non-Jewish citizens as well.”

With regard to the importance of the rehabilitation of Gaza, President Rivlin said: “The rehabilitation of Gaza is both an Israeli and international interest. Gaza could become prosperous and successful if its population was not held hostage by the Hamas terror organization.”

Quartet Representative Tony Blair commented: “I am pleased to meet you for the first time as president. I want to congratulate you on the important work you are doing, and for the strength and clarity you have shown on the issues of concern to us all. Your words have had a great resonance, not only in Israel but outside as well, particularly over the past months that were difficult here."

Rosh Hashanah message from the President of Israel

Message from the President of the State of Israel to the Jewish Communities of the Diaspora on the occasion of the New Year - Rosh Hashanah

Brothers and sisters,

Leaders of the Jewish communities of the Diaspora and their friends,

According to Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashanah represents a time of personal, community and national soul-searching. In the shadow of the events of the past months, this year, here in Israel, these days of reflection are reaffirmed and take on a special meaning.

With the kidnapping and murder of the four teenagers: Naftali, Gilad, Eyal and Muhammad; and the ongoing campaign in southern Israel in the background, the citizens of Israel and their leaders were faced with difficult dilemmas: the responsibility to defend our homes and land, alongside the concern of harming innocent people; the commitment to enable a free democratic dialogue, versus the need to set clear limits to restrain manifestations of inflammatory behavior and incitement. Israel had to respond to the threats of terror organizations from the outside, while maintaining its image and values as a Jewish and democratic state that is committed to international law and is dedicated to providing all its citizens with equality and dignity, Arabs and Jews alike.

The resilience of Israel is not based on its military strength, but emanates from the liberal, democratic and Jewish values on which it was founded. Even at a time when Israel is required to mobilize its military front, it cannot ignore its home front and the surge of violent political manifestations of incitement and hate in its streets. Israel’s leadership and Israel’s society are judged not only by their military resiliency, but also by their civil resiliency, not only in normal times, but also in times of crisis.

In the course of Operation Protective Edge, I felt that Israel was not alone in the arena. Leaders of the free world and many of the members of the various Jewish movements and communities stood shoulder to shoulder with Israel, supporting its duty to defend its citizens and identifying with its efforts to restore peace to Israel’s southern communities.

On the threshold of the New Year, I want to thank you, leaders and members of the Jewish communities, for your support of Israel’s soldiers and its home front, and especially its southern communities. It is with much anticipation that I hope we shall continue to stand together in the face of the challenges awaiting the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora in the future, generated by a sense of mutual responsibility and partnership.

Dear Friends,

The coming year is marked by Jewish tradition as a shmita year, a sabbatical year for land and man. The observance of shmita serves to slow down the economic race and utilitarianism, and see in others, a human being. I pray that this year the gates of our hearts will open to let in compassion, generosity and mutual responsibility. May the coming year bring the sound of joy, a symphony of miscellaneous Jewish voices that will unite us all as a family, community and people.

כתיבה וחתימה טובה!
Shana Tova Ve’Metuka,

Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin

President Rivlin at New Year reception for the diplomatic corps in Israel

Israel is a country governed by the rule of law and recognizes the importance of international law. However, today the international legal system is facing a new new type of war. It needs to provide a comprehensive and relevant judicial response to these new wars.

Distinguished guests,

Welcome to the President's Residence, to the traditional reception held on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I'm very pleased to have this special opportunity to welcome you here and to open up this house, to you all, members of the diplomatic corps based in Israel.

We do not celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, with street parties or with dancing late into the night. The Jewish people celebrates the New Year as a family holiday and a time for soul searching.

Following the events of recent months here in Israel, this period leading up to Rosh Hashanah - a period traditionally devoted to looking deep into our souls - takes on a special meaning this year.

In consideration of the fighting in the south, the people and leaders of Israel had to make difficult decisions: On one hand we had to protect our citizens, our homes and our land, while on the other hand, we faced the responsibility to avoid harming the innocent, as far as possible. Inside Israel, the Israeli society faced also a big challenge. We had to maintain our responsibility to enable free speech while supporting the people who were fighting to bring security to the people of Israel.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the past, wars took place between countries, but in recent decades, we have had to confront a new form of warfare: warfare waged between countries and terrorist organizations.

We all know that in war, there are no winners. There is always harm and death. However, in war between a terror organization and a sovereign state, the terror organization is always in a "win-win situation."

When the terrorist organization succeeds, in causing harm to the country that is fighting against it, then according to its own point of view, it has gained a victory. And if, in response to its actions, it succeeds in drawing the country into aggressive military action where innocent women and children are killed, then here again, according to its own point of view, it has gained a victory that will also bring with it the sympathy of public opinion.

Excellencies, distinguished guests,

Israel is a country governed by the rule of law. Furthermore, Israel recognizes the enormous importance of international law, and the importance of strictly obeying the laws of war.

Today, however, the international legal system is facing a new type of challenges, a new type of war that is taking place throughout the world. It now needs to provide a comprehensive and relevant judicial response to these new wars.

The international laws of war can no longer ignore this new situation, that is so very different from traditional forms of warfare. Those laws of war must be adapted so as to become more appropriate for the new reality, that now exists.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Excellencies,

The State of Israel is not at war with Islam. By the same token, the State of Israel is not at war with the Palestinian people. I believe that the great majority of Palestinians who live in Gaza are innocent. If the choice was theirs, they would choose to live in a flourishing country with a blooming economy and peaceful relations.

The citizens of Gaza are no different from the citizens of Berlin, Paris, Mexico City, New Delhi, Bucharest or Brussels, they too want to live in peace and security. The fact that one and a half million Palestinians are being held hostage by 30,000 Hamas terrorists is a human tragedy.

Dear friends,

Today, 65 years from its establishment, Israel is a social and economic miracle.

The State of Israel is not found only in the heart of the Middle East. Israel holds out its hand, everywhere, to friendly nations who need assistance during times of disaster. The State of Israel is found in the heart of the dry lands of African deserts, in Latin America, in Europe and in Asia. Israel can be found in the heart of computer processors and in the hi-tech industry throughout the world. You can find Israeli inventions and developments in hospitals in your countries, in the computers you use, in aid programs to fight drought, to desalinate sea water and to advance agriculture.

You, the ambassadors who are living here, in our country, who are familiar with what is going on here, know this very well. As ambassadors serving here and also as our ambassadors, it is important that you bring the message of Israel to your own. When you talk about the State of Israel, please bring the diverse character of Israeli society. Present Israel in all its true complexity.

Israel is not just a place of conflict, it is a place of life, of a strong economy. It is a place not trapped in the past, but looking forward towards a promising future.

I recently celebrated my 75th birthday. I was born here, and my grandchildren are the ninth generation of my family in this country. I myself, like my father, my grandfather and my great, great grandfather before me, grew up in Jerusalem.

For all of that long period we shared our lives with the other residents of this land, with all the many communities and beliefs. There have always been ups and downs, in relations between Jews and Arabs and there will continue to be.

There will be a real change for the better in relations between Arabs and Jews only when both parties accept that we are not been doomed to live here together, rather, it is our destiny to live here together. As President, one of my most important tasks is to make the members of Israeli society truly listen to each other, to be more open, more tolerant, more liberal. This, mainly in relations with the Arabs who live among us, the Arab population of Israel.

The State of Israel, the Jewish and democratic State of Israel, is the home, of all that were born here, all those for whom this country is their homeland. The Arab citizens of Israel must also find in the State of Israel a home, as their right, not as a favor; they must share full and equal rights and recognition,and must also play a true role in advancing and developing this country.

I pray that during this coming year, the gateways of all our hearts will be open to listening, to cooperation and to mutual commitment.

I pray that during this coming year we shall listen to a symphony of the many voices that shape us, as a state, as a society and as human beings.

I wish you all a very happy and blessed year.

President Rivlin meets with Norwegian FM Brende

​President Rivlin: The rehabilitation and reconstruction of Gaza should be linked to the demilitarization of Gaza, because otherwise Hamas will use the financial aid to further military aims and enhance their ability to attack Israel once again. 

President Reuven Rivlin, at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, met with Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende and told him at the start of their meeting, "I would like to welcome you once again to our state and to the region. We appreciate very much your concern and your idea to come to us once again and the appreciation goes with the understanding that you are very much worried about the situation with the people of Gaza."
President Rivlin added that, "The reconstruction of Gaza is one of our interests as much as it is of the all the free world. The rehabilitation and reconstruction of Gaza should go along with the demilitarization of Gaza because otherwise we can see the next round in no time because the Hamas people once again will spend all the money that the whole world is trying to help them with in order to reconstruct Gaza, and will put it into military aims and the ability to attack Israel once again. We can come to a dead-end once again and we could find ourselves in a very, very serious situation." The President concluded his remarks by saying, "I very much appreciate the idea that you are trying to help all those people who need humanitarian help."
Norwegian Foreign Minister Brende thanked President Rivlin for his kind words and said, "I know that this has been a very difficult summer for Israel. I was here in July and I saw this. It has been tough on Israel and tough on the Palestinian people." He added, "I know now that there are important negotiations on a more permanent ceasefire and the conditions in Gaza under Egyptian leadership and I think that this is important." The Norwegian Foreign Minister also said, "We cannot discuss the Israel and Palestinian situations without looking at in a broader context," and referred to ISIS and the situation in Iraq.

Israeli President Rivlin Greets Full Jumbo Flight of 338 New Olim from N. America

Among the Olim are 108 young men and women planning to serve in the IDF

Tel Aviv, Despite tensions surrounding the war in Gaza, 338 new Olim (immigrants) from the United States and Canada arrived in Israel this morning on an Aliyah charter flight to Israel. The special Nefesh B’Nefesh flight was organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel, The Jewish Agency for Israel, JNF - USA and Tzofim Garin Tzabar.

Included in the group of Olim were 108 inspiring young men and women who made Aliyah and will be serving in the Israel Defense Forces.

The large group of Olim included 37 families with 107 children. The passenger list was also comprised of 65 Olim moving to Israel’s periphery as part of the Nefesh B’Nefesh and Keren Kayemeth L’Israel Go North and Go South programs. Altogether, the Olim will be settling in every part of Israel, from Ma’alot in the North to Eilat in the South.

The Olim hail from 27 states and three Canadian provinces, from Arizona to Quebec, and range in age from a six-week-old baby to a 93-year-old great-grandparent in a family of four generations making Aliyah together.

As the new immigrants made their first steps on Israeli soil upon arrival, KKL-JNF presented each of them with a personalized certificate announcing that KKL-JNF will plant a “first tree in the homeland of Israel” in their honor, encouraging the development of the Southern communities (attached please find a sample of these certificates).

Said KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler: “The fighting spirit which has enabled the Jewish people to survive for thousands of years is not only found among IDF soldiers, but also among the immigrants who chose to come to Israel alone, without their families, at this particular period of time, and join the elite combatant units of the Israel Defense Forces.”

Stenzler added: “As a central partner in this important project, KKL-JNF is proud of the new immigrants and assures them with its support and promise to accompany them throughout their absorption in the Negev and Galilee, in favor of strengthening the Israeli society.”

Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, Sofa Landver said “it is heartwarming to see young men and women, who despite these challenging times, are leaving their comfortable lives in the Diaspora to make Aliyah and serve and defend the State of Israel." She added that “the Olim who are continuing to move to Israel are strengthening us all, especially these determined young people who will be joining the IDF in combative and significant roles. You are the symbol of Zionism and the future of the State of Israel.”

“I find it profoundly inspiring that we have a 747 jumbo jet filled to capacity with people from the North American Jewish community making Aliyah, especially at such a challenging time,” said Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh Yehoshua Fass. “To see that Jews everywhere, young and old, religious and secular, are determined to fulfill the dream of helping to build the Jewish State is truly amazing.” he said.

Chair of The Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky said: “That so many Jews from the West are joining us of their own free will is the best answer to those who still try to destroy us. This flight is yet another step in the ingathering of the exiles, and we look forward to welcoming these new Israelis home.”

Among those present at the festive arrival ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport, were: President of Israel, Reuven (Rubi) Rivlin; Minister of Interior, Gideon Saar; Director-General of the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigration Absorption, Mr. Oded Feuer; Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky; Chairman of the Board of Directors of KKL-JNF, Effie Stenzler; CEO, Jewish National Fund, Russell Robinson; Chairman of the Israel Scouts Tzofim, Mr. Eli Ben-Yosef and Co-Founders of Nefesh B'Nefesh, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass & Tony Gelbart.

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