(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Jordanian Parliament Speaker Tahar al-Massri sent back a letter from Knesset
Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Sunday, claiming it is racist for calling Jerusalem the
capital of Israel.
Rivlin sent the letter to parliamentary speakers
around the world in honor of the secular New Year earlier this month, in which
he wrote that he is optimistic about the coming year.
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Massri called the
letter racist, biased and political, and returned it to Israel’s ambassador to
Jordan, Daniel Nevo.
The Jordanian speaker specifically took issue with
Rivlin calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
Rivlin, who was visiting
the British House of Lords on Sunday, said Zionism is not anti-Arab or
Israel’s relations with Jordan are important, he added,
therefore the two sides must agree to disagree.
Rivlin also said he would
be happy to meet with Massri to smooth out the problems.
speaker’s letter began with him explaining that he is writing from “the Holy
City of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.” He added that the Jewish people have
hoped and prayed for peace since Biblical times.
Rivlin also mentioned
that Israel faces many challenges, including “the refusal of the Palestinians to
resume direct negotiations with us,” terror by Hamas and Hezbollah, and the Arab
He also said that “there are those to whom death is dearer than
life is to us,” mentioning al-Qaida and Islamic Jihad, and called on the world
to cooperate and fight the “evil menace.”
In addition, Rivlin emphasized
that “Israel is as much Jewish as it is democratic,” adding that the two values