Addressing the opening session of the annual Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations convention in Jerusalem on Sunday night, President Reuven Rivlin reiterated his belief that Israel has no greater ally than America.
He listed the three most important issues in Israel’s foreign policy: “No. 1, relations with America. No. 2, relations with America. No. 3, relations with America.”
Rivlin thanked the various leaders of American Jewry, ranging from the extreme Left to the extreme Right and everything in between, for demonstrating their care for Israel “not just in words but in action,” and was particularly appreciative of the fact that they “stand up for Israel all the time.”
This is something that Israel does not take for granted, he said.
Recalling the words of a speech delivered by John F. Kennedy at the Zionists of America convention in August 1960, Rivlin said, “Friendship for Israel is not a partisan matter. It is a national commitment.”
He expressed concern about the divisiveness of society, both in Israel and the US, and declared, “When a society is divided, it is not easy to keep shared vision and shared space. America’s strength is important and dear to us all. We cannot allow Israel to become a political football between different sides and different ideologies.”
Although there were some clashes between the secular-Orthodox Rivlin, as he describes himself, and the American Conservative and Reform movements in the past, fences have been mended since Rivlin came into office. “We respect all Jews in America and have no doubt that whatever your politics, you care for the safety and security of Israel,” he said.
He assured his audience that Israel will continue to build a Jewish and democratic state, and conveyed his warm wishes
to President Donald Trump, expressing the hope that Trump would able to visit Jerusalem very soon.