President Rivlin meeting Israeli heads of diplomatic missions, 10 December 2018..
(photo credit: AMOS BEN GERSHOM, GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin on Monday asked the public to refrain from publishing and embellishing rumors on social media.
In an address at the opening session of the 16th annual Jerusalem Conference organized by the B'sheva Media Group at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Jerusalem, Rivlin was referring specifically to the pain and anguish caused to the family of brutally murdered Ori Ansbacher of Tekoah who learned of the fate of their loved one from both the traditional and social media before they received the tragic news from official sources.
"No-one deserves to hear of the fate of their loved one from the media or from a Whatsapp group" said Rivlin.
Aware that the killer was a terrorist, Rivlin declared that the State of Israel will not be silent, nor will it cease its unrelenting fight against terrorism and its perpetrators.
He was extremely appreciative of the speed with which security forces had found and apprehended the killer.
Both as president and as a former speaker of the Knesset, Rivlin has witnessed and suffered attacks against the legislative, executive and judicial branches of Israel's democratic system.
Such attacks are untenable, he said. "We have only one home, only one state, and we must defend it as our most treasured possession."
In the current climate of elections Rivlin urged that political rivals, instead of besmirching each other's reputations, focus on their own achievements, rather than the flaws of others. In the final analysis they all have to work together for the well being of the nation, he noted. "Now is the time to listen to the other side even if those voices are not part of the consensus," he said.
Rivlin, who throughout his presidency has campaigned for the inclusiveness of Israel's minority populations into the country's mainstream society, did so again on Monday, using Titsaveh, the upcoming Torah portion of the week as an analogy. He underscored that in this Biblical reading, the High Priest wears the names of all twelve tribes of (ancient) Israel on his breastplate, thus bringing them all together. Israel cannot afford to ignore or abandon any of its tribes, he said, adding that it must continue the discourse with them in a civilized manner in order to find a common platform.
In commending the B'Sheva media empire that was originally founded as the Arutz Sheva (Channel 7) radio station in October, 1988 by Rabbi Baruch Melamed and his wife Shulamit to counter Abie Nathan's left wing offshore radio station The Voice od Peace which broadcast from a ship "somewhere in the Mediterranean" Rivlin said that the Melameds and those who worked with them wanted to ensure that there was a different voice in the conversation. He neglected to say that Arutz Sheva had initially been regarded as illegal and had to fight very hard to be accepted in Israel's media world. Nowadays, its weekly newspaper has a print run of 100,000 copies, and according to B'Sheva chairman of the board Dudu Saada, is the most widely read newspaper among religious Zionists.
The opening session of the conference was also used for the awarding of Jerusalem Prizes to Prof. Yonatan Halevy, the director of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center who is retiring after 31 years in office, and six years as the director of the National Transplant Center; and to Chaim Topol, both as an actor who brought beloved characters such as Sallah Shabati and Tuvya the Dairyman to stage and screen, as well as for hischairing the board of the Jordan River Village project for children suffering life threatening illnesses.
Organizers of the conference which covers many facets of activity in Israel as well as many political and other influential personalities, said that when they set the date almost a year ago, they could not have known that it would be less than two months before the Knesset elections, a week after the Likud primaries, on the same day as the Labor primaries and less than two weeks after Israel Resilience founder and chairman Benny Gantz had broken his silence.
Given all these factors, organizers expect this Jerusalem conference to be the most thought provoking to date. Labor Party chairman Avi Gabbay is scheduled to speak at the conference on Tuesday following the outcome of the Labor primaries.
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