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".
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