President Reuven Rivlin pledged that Israel will not rest until Hamas returns the bodies of fallen soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul along with two citizens being held in captivity, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed.
His pledge was made while speaking to the Conference of Presidents at the opening of its 44th annual meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday night in the presence of members of the Goldin and Mengistu families and US Ambassador David Friedman.
Rivlin also wished a speedy recovery to the soldiers injured in the weekend attack near Gaza and said Israelis’ hearts were with the families of the victims of the shooting attack in Florida.
“Hatred is hatred and we must stand united against it,” he said.
In a reference to Israel’s 70th anniversary of statehood and independence, Rivlin said: “We take pride in everything we have achieved but our duty is to build the future.”
He spoke of the challenges to this future, such as Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah and the threat that they pose to the stability of the region. “Israel will not allow Iran to disturb the lives of our people,” he said, as he called on the free world to stop Iran from sponsoring terrorism.
Rivlin on antisemitism, February 18, 2018 (GPO)
He also drew attention to rising antisemitism and said that whether it comes from the Left or the Right, it must be called out wherever it is found, adding that antisemitism disguised as anti-Zionism should not be tolerated.
Rivlin, who is scheduled to go to Poland in April to participate in this year’s March of the Living, was angry about recent developments in Poland with regard to Holocaust history, and said that Jews must stand strong as “one people” and educate the world about the Nazi atrocities and those who helped the Nazis. “Saying our people collaborated with Nazis is a new plot,” he said.
Rivlin calls on the free world to stop Iran from sponsoring terrorism, February 18,2018 (GPO)
Nonetheless, he concluded, although the threats faced by Israel and the Jewish people are big, “so are the opportunities.”