Israeli President Reuven Rivlin yesterday addressed the Jewish Federation’s General Assembly in Los Angeles. In a wide ranging speech he covered three key issues; the Western Wall, the threat from Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The Israeli President warned that Iran “is establishing its control through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, and up to the Mediterranean”. He said that “this is not just a threat to Israel, it is a threat to the entire world”.
Rivlin described Iran as “the number one exporter of international terrorism” and said it would be “madness” to allow it to have nuclear capability.
On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Rivlin said that any deal must be founded on the principle that Israeli is a secure, Jewish and democratic state. He said: “The Israel-Palestinian conflict will not be solved by boycotts or by unilateral steps. The political hijacking of international bodies, from the UN to Interpol, only harms the chance of reaching a solution.”
“The Jewish People, the State of Israel, has never been and will never be at war with Islam. The lives of Palestinians and Israelis, Arabs and Jews, are bound together. We live side by side and with each other. We share the same land, the same holy places, the same water and the same sky. There will be no peace until we all understand that we are not doomed to live together. It is our destiny to live together; Arabs and Jews,” he said.
On the Western Wall, Rivlin said that “the development of the [Kotel] agreement was a sensitive process, led by our government in order to try and bridge the gap. 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, and a common interest. At the same time, we must all respect Israel’s democratic process, the decision-making process. Whether we like it or not, in the only Jewish democratic state, ‘religion and state’ is a political issue – maybe the most explosive one”.
The Jewish Federations earlier passed a resolution calling on the Israeli government to reverse its “divisive and damaging” steps to freeze an agreement on egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall and its support of a bill that would grant a monopoly to Orthodox authorities in Israel over conversions to Judaism.
The resolution warned that ignoring the concerns of the non-Orthodox Jewish movements could “undermine the Zionist vision and the State of Israel’s sacred role as a national home for the entire Jewish people” and urged the Government to recognise the importance of the issue to Jews around the world.