Categorized | Middle East, USA

Rivlin stresses Diaspora and Israeli Jews are ‘one people’

LOS ANGELES (Press Release)–Israeli Pres. Reuven Rivlin urged cooperation and mutual understanding in a speech Monday night to the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly in Los Angeles. Rivlin addressed major issues confronting Jews and Israel, including prayer at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, regional security in the Middle East, and divisions in Israeli society.

Rivlin took on the controversy over the Israeli government’s reneging on its commitment to allow egalitarian worship at the Western Wall, telling the crowd: “It causes such pain that the symbol of unity, the wall of our tears and joy, has become a symbol of division and disagreement. I hope that in the future we can return to the table together, and reach an understanding on this important issue. It is our mutual responsibility.”

In his speech, Rivlin praised Israel for its behemoth high-tech industry, warned about the dangers of Iran’s actions in the Middle East, and called for reconciliation between the different religious and ethnic groups that make up Israeli society.

Central to his speech was a challenge to Jews in Israel and the Diaspora to talk across differences and affirm their belonging to one people. He stressed that North American Jews are important partners in building up the state of Israel and in crafting the global Jewish future. “The State of Israel was, and will always be, the home of every Jew; Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, secular, traditional, Ashkenazi, Sephardi. Jews. We are all one people, and Israel is dear to all of us,” he said.

As his first major address to a Jewish audience outside Israel and came amid concern in the Diaspora about the Israeli government’s decision on the Western Wall, his speech was highly anticipated.

Rivlin is not the last high-profile speaker who will address the JFNA’s General Convention. Tomorrow, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be interviewed live via satellite. He’s expected to speak around 12 p.m.

Preceding provided by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA)

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