President Reuven Rivlin today (Monday, 20 June 2016) began his official visit to the European Union and to the Kingdom of Belgium by holding a working meeting with Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel, and later with His Majesty King Phillipe. The President was received by the Prime Minister before the two went on to review a guard of honor.
At the conclusion of their meeting, the two delivered media statements, during which the President stressed the importance of cooperation between the two countries in the fight against anti-Semitism and terrorism. The President said, “Israel is concerned by the activities of the BDS movement in your country. BDS is of no importance, but even their small victories can give the wrong impression. We hope that under your leadership, Belgium will say 'no to BDS' and 'yes to peace', 'yes to cooperation'. Today we know that there is a link between anti-Semitism against Jews, and Jihadi terror that kills innocent people of all religions. We must not wait for anti-Semitism to become terror; we must fight it from the beginning, together, we must fight together against anti-Semitism.”
Prime Minister Michel welcomed the President, he said, “We spoke today about the fight against terror, which stands central to the efforts of our two peoples and of the whole world. We must improve the coordination between our intelligence organizations to ensure that we will succeed in preventing future attacks. In addition, we spoke about our shared values, the values of democracy, and the peace process in light of the geopolitical situation in the Middle East. We share in the concern about events in Syria, Libya, and Iraq. One of the issues about which we spoke was that of the refugees which is of concern to both countries.”
The Prime Minister added, “We share diplomatic, political, and economic values, and the cooperation between us is significant - especially in the area of trade. We appreciate Israeli innovation, and the drive for education and academic development, and hope that your visit will strengthen the abilities of our countries to work together.”
The Prime Minister stressed that in their discussions, “I had the opportunity to reaffirm Belgium’s commitment to fighting anti-Semitism. We will fight anti-Semitism with all our strength. This is a shared struggle.”
After his meeting with the Prime Minister, President Rivlin went on to meet His Majesty King Phillipe of Belgium, with whom he discussed a range of bilateral issues, and spoke of strengthening the relations between the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Belgium.
Over the course of his visit, President Rivlin is due to deliver a special address before the European Parliament on Wednesday 22 June, and will also meet leaders of the European institutions, and of the Jewish and other faith communities.