(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
President Reuven Rivlin has asked Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to act as an intermediary between Israel and her neighbors. At a meeting that the two leaders had on Monday at the President’s Residence, Rivlin, after congratulating Abe on his re-election, said that given that Abe has excellent relations with Israel’s neighbors, and is also a friend of Israel’s, he could help both Jews and Arabs who have been suffering from the tragedy of their conflict for more than 150 years..
“We have to bring an end to the conflict, and we can only do it through direct negotiations,” he said. “Going to the International Criminal Court and the United Nations to solve problems that we can only solve together, brings peace further away,” said Rivlin. “You cannot build confidence by going to the ICC in The Hague or the United Nations in New York.”
Abe replied that he believed that his first visit to Israel was a timely one in view of the fact that this is the 70th anniversary year of the liberation of Auschwitz. “I’m determined that such a tragedy will never happen again,” he said in reference to the Holocaust. This was the reason he said, that Japan is working towards world peace in the hope of creating a society that is free of war and discrimination.
There was a long standing bond between Japan and the Jewish people he said, recalling that Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara who was Vice Consul in Lithuania during the Second World War, had saved the lives of some 6,000 Jews by issuing them with visas that enabled them to enter Japanese territory.
As for the Middle East peace process, Rivlin applauded the significant contributions made by Japan to which Abe replied that it was his intention to make further contributions in the hope that peace will come.
Meanwhile he said, following extremely productive discussions on two successive days with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Japan will strengthen its bilateral relations with Israel on every level.