President Reuven Rivlin.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
President Reuven Rivlin left Israel shortly after midnight on Tuesday en route to the United States for talks with President Barack Obama in Washington.
Aside from discussions expected to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the security threats ISIS poses to the Middle East and the world at large, Rivlin will also participate in a Hanukka candle lighting ceremony at the White House.
It will be the first time in his life Rivlin will spend Hanukkah beyond the environs of Jerusalem, or outside Israel and away from his family.
While in Washington, Rivlin will also go to Capitol Hill to meet with the majority and minority leaders of Congress.
He will also speak at the Brookings Institution, one of the most veteran of American think tanks.
On Thursday night, Rivlin will board a train to New York to join a traditional Hanukka candle lighting ceremony for ambassadors to the United Nations, and meet with spiritual leaders of different streams of Judaism to emphasize that Jews, whatever their adherence, are all part of one family.
Rivlin was not expected to meet with Jonathan Pollard, the convicted spy released from prison last month.
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Sources close to Rivlin have suggested the president does not want to insult the American administration by seeking a meeting with Pollard nor does he want to harm Pollard who is still subject to severe legal restrictions.
A possible meeting with the family of Ezra Schwartz, the 18-year-old Boston yeshiva student gunned down in a November terrorist attack in Gush Etzion was in the pipeline, but because Rivlin has a tight schedule in New York, it seems more likely that the family will come to meet him in Jerusalem.
A student at Yeshivat Ashreinu in Beit Shemesh, Schwartz who was in Israel during his gap year before college and gone to distribute food to soldiers stationed in and around Gush Etzion, in the West Bank.
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