President Reuven Rivlin will leave for New York on Sunday on a five-day trip – his second overseas visit since taking office last July.
Rivlin’s previous trip was to Poland in October, to participate in the official opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.
The president’s visit to New York is primarily to address the United Nations on International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, but he will also take the opportunity for a personal meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who visited Rivlin in his succa two weeks prior to the president’s Poland trip. The two will inaugurate an exhibition prepared by Yad Vashem, which will be on display in the UN building.
The theme of this year’s commemoration is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
While in the US, Rivlin will visit the US Military Academy at West Point, and will also lay a wreath at the site of Ground Zero, where he will issue a call for all peace loving people to join forces in the struggle against terrorism.
On his arrival Rivlin will meet with leaders of New York’s African-American community, and later in the visit is set to have meetings with leaders of the Hispanic and Jewish communities.
In addition, he will meet with bereaved parents of American lone soldiers who fell in battle while serving as volunteers in the IDF. The parents will be Rivlin’s guests when he addresses the UN.
While at West Point, Rivlin will lay a wreath on the grave of Mickey Marcus, whose real name was David Daniel Marcus. A colonel in the US Army, Marcus had come to the nascent State of Israel to help out during the War of Independence. He was killed by friendly fire in 1948 when he was mistaken for an enemy infiltrator, because he could not remember the Hebrew password. Marcus was considered the IDF’s first general and is regarded as a hero.