Rivlin makes ‘official request’ for Sarajevo Haggada

President Rivlin received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of the UK, Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Equatorial Guinea and Bulgaria.

August 8, 2019 04:40
1 minute read.
President Rivlin with Ambassador Dusko Kovacevic of Bosnia and Herzegovina

President Rivlin with Ambassador Dusko Kovacevic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. (photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)

President Reuven Rivlin used his first opportunity with the new ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dusko  Kovacevic, to attempt to facilitate a loan by the National Museum of Sarajevo of the famed Sarajevo Haggada.

The beautifully illustrated manuscript, which originated in Barcelona in the mid-14th century, left Spain in 1492 with the expulsion of the Jews.

It was brought to Venice by Jewish refugees, but nothing was heard of it until the 17th century.

In 1880, it was sold by a private individual to the National Museum, where it is on display.

Rivlin made the request immediately after receiving the ambassador’s credentials on Wednesday and said that he would like to see the Sarajevo Haggada join other famous Haggadot in the Israel Museum. However, he said that if that was not feasible, Israel would be happy to receive it on loan.

“This is the story of our liberation as a people,” he told the ambassador.

 Kovacevic, focusing more on the future than on the past, said the two states have a common cause in combating terrorism.

He told the president he is looking forward to closer cooperation in the fields of innovation and cybersecurity.
“We are looking to the future, but we cannot forget the past,” said Rivlin referring to the humane manner in which Bosnia and Herzegovina treated its Jews during the Holocaust years. “Your attitude to the Jewish community is appreciated by the entire Jewish world.”

Kovacevic went directly from the President’s Residence to Yad Vashem to lay a wreath.

Also presenting credentials were ambassadors Luciano Ndong of Equatorial Guinea, Neil Wigan of the UK, Rumiana Bachvarova of Bulgaria and Kyle O’Sullivan of Ireland.

Ndong is his country’s first resident ambassador in Israel.

As he does with all African ambassadors, Rivlin asked Ndong to use his influence to help Israel gain observer status at the Organization of African Unity, as well as to support Israel at the UN where it is important to underscore the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

“To say that Jews have no connection to Jerusalem is a joke,” Rivlin declared.

Rivlin spoke to Wigan about the growing antisemitism in the UK and urged more intensive efforts toward educating the public about what had happened in the past when antisemitism was rife in Europe.

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