“We are asking our friends, our neighbors, our opponents, our enemies to understand that the Jewish people have returned home, and this is a fact,” Rivlin declared.
President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday met with senior members of Christian communities around the world who support Israel at his residence in Jerusalem.
The delegation, arranged by the Knesset Christian Caucus and the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast movement, included representatives of around 200 communities in more than 50 countries – among them, approximately 30 parliamentarians.
The group was visiting Israel to mark 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem.
Rivlin spoke of Israel’s desire to live in peace in the region.
“We are asking our friends, our neighbors, our opponents, our enemies to understand that the Jewish people have returned home, and this is a fact,” he declared.
Rivlin noted the special occasion of the delegation’s visit to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. “Today, I have the right to be free in my city,” he said.
“The city of Jerusalem, which was once a divided city – is the same city where Jews and Arabs, religious and secular people, find the space to live together, to meet and get to know each other, to build a shared Jerusalem, together. Jerusalem for me, is a microcosm of our ability, to live together, Jews, Muslims, Christians. Jerusalem is holy to everyone of faith. And Israel is proud to stand by the right of everyone to worship God as they believe,” he added.
Peace in Jerusalem
However, “even after 50 years, we have not let Jerusalem rest. Some want to divide her, some want to see her grow, some want to see her shrink. And there are some who want to deny altogether its history, our history,” he warned.
He expressed hope that “perhaps today, as we mark half a century since the city was reunited, the time has come to bring peace to Jerusalem.”
He recounted telling President Trump two weeks ago that “it is not enough to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we must also pray for peace in Jerusalem. That is what you are all doing. You are here, to show your support for Israel, your love for Jerusalem and your friendship with the Jewish People. We appreciate this very much.”
Speaking on behalf of the delegates, Swedish MEP Lars Adaktusson said his “firm belief is that those of us who value the friendship between Jews and Christians have a duty to address the roots of anti-Israeli bias wherever it occurs. The European public for a long time has been living with the impression of Israel as the source of all problems, while the Palestinians have been represented by peace loving and trustworthy leaders, without any responsibility for violence or terror.”
“Israel is, as we all know, a society with freedom of speech, pluralist, and the rule of law. As friends of Israel, the task is ours to provide the full picture of Israeli society to our compatriots – this is a challenge but no means an impossible task,” he concluded.