President Rivlin hosts 'most important meeting'

Youth groups meet Rivlin and pledge that regardless of their politics, they would retain their belief in equality and social justice irrespective of religion, race, gender or sexual orientation.

November 3, 2014 13:47
1 minute read.
President Reuven Rivlin with Israeli youth group leaders, November 3, 2014.

President Reuven Rivlin with Israeli youth group leaders, November 3, 2014. . (photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)


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Against the backdrop of the 19th anniversary events commemorating the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, President Reuven Rivlin met at his residence on Monday with representatives of Zionist youth groups that have been pursuing joint and individual programs aimed at instilling democratic values in their members.

After hearing about their commitment to democracy and their condemnation not only of racism and violence, but also of uncivilized language and humiliation of the other, Rivlin put aside his prepared speech and told them: “There are many important meetings in this building, but today’s meeting is the most important. You are the future of the State of Israel. You are the future of democracy.”

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He said that 10 years ago, he had placed a priority on making youth groups conscious of the principles of democracy and that he was pleased to hear them talk about the democratic compass that guides their lives.

“I’m proud that you are committed to remembering and not forgetting,” he said after Youth Council member Pesach Hofstetter presented a dissertation in which he reviewed crises and civil wars in Jewish history that had been sparked by intolerance and lack of respect for the other.

The youngsters, under the umbrella of the Council of Youth Movements in Israel, represented the Israel Scouts, Dror Israel, National Youth, Ezra, Bnei Akiva, Hashomer Hatza’ir, Hamahanot Haolim, Maccabi, the Agricultural Association, Hano’ar Ha’oved Vehalomed and Betar.

From what they said, it appeared that they had boned up on Rivlin’s speeches about democracy.

They pledged that regardless of their varied political affiliations, they would retain their belief in national unity, in equality and social justice irrespective of religion, race, gender or sexual orientation, would settle all their differences in accordance with the tenets of democracy and would always recognize that all human beings are equal.

They also promised that they would promote Zionism and would continue the fight to eradicate racism, intolerance and violence.

Jerusalemite Avia Hirschfeld, who is a member of Hamahanot Haolim, spoke out against the racism and violence that are permeating the city, and stressed the need for ongoing dialogue among young people with differing viewpoints.

“We will not allow violence and fear to characterize the city of Jerusalem. We will work toward democracy and against racism and violence,” she said.

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