Reuven Rivlin addressed 150 members of the Christian media

The Christian Media Summit is organized by the Government Press Office. The talk will be in English.

The ultimate decider: President Reuven Rivlin (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The ultimate decider: President Reuven Rivlin
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Addressing some 150 Christian media representatives from 30 countries on the last day of their intensive four-day visit to Israel, President Reuven Rivlin , in relating to peace and coexistence with the Palestinians, said that he believes in the possibility of peace in the region, but was aware that it takes time, and that there is a mutual need to build confidence.
“Our neighbors have to understand that the Children of Israel have returned home to the land of their ancestors,” he declared. “We are not doomed to live together; it is our destiny to live together. We have returned to our homeland. We didn’t take away their homeland. We are ready to share.”
As he always does with foreign visitors, Rivlin welcomed his guests “to Jerusalem, our eternal united capital,” but the reaction was different to the usual polite silence. Instead there were loud cheers of approval, to which Rivlin responded: “The obvious should be said from time to time.”
Aware that in a sense he was preaching to the converted, Rivlin, using the subject of fake news as his hook, said: “I know each of you is dedicated to spreading the truth about Israel.”
He categorized truth as “a component of peace,” but said in the next breath that peace would never come from denying the truth of the connection of the Jewish people to Israel.
When US President Donald Trump moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem, “he recognized the truth that Jerusalem is our capital now and forever,” Rivlin declared to another round of cheers.
Back on the peace track, Rivlin said that Israel and the Jewish people are facing two major threats: antisemitism and anti-Zionism, which he defined as being anti-Israel.
Rivlin attributed the spread of anti-Israel sentiments to Iran, which he said continues to spread terrorism throughout the region, continues to build military bases, and plan attacks from Syria and elsewhere in the region such as Lebanon and even Yemen. He cautioned Israel’s enemies that “the State of Israel will do everything needed to defend its citizens.”
Voicing Israel’s worry over the global rise in antisemitism, Rivlin said that it is a phenomenon that needs a robust call for action, more investment in education and zero tolerance.
In this context, he spoke about the January 23 gathering of world leaders who will join him in commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Dozens are coming from east and west to reinforce a joint commitment to combat antisemitism in all its forms, he said.
RIVLIN WAS PROUD of the fact that Israel is the only country in the region whose Christian population has grown since its founding.
He pledged that Israel will always promote freedom of worship and respect for holy sites.
Israel not only respects holy sites, he said, but also helps to develop them. The most recent of such projects was the development of the Qasr El Yahud baptismal site on the Jordan River, which is important to Christians who will go there in large numbers, because according to tradition, this is where Jesus was baptized. This Christian influx will be good for both Israel and the Palestinians, said Rivlin.
Prior to his address three of the participants – Josias Terschuren, public relations manager of Initiative 27, Germany; Catilin Vasile, manager of Producens Media in Romania; and Ward Simpson, president and CEO of God TV in the US – all commented on how they felt.
As a German, said Terschuren, he was not responsible for what his people had done (during the Holocaust), but he was responsible for the future and what to do with the past. He was honored, he said, to be among Jewish people and in Jerusalem. As a student of both geology and the Bible, he had come across Israel very often, he said to the tune of good-natured laughter.
Vasile noted that “Hatikva,” Israel’s national anthem, had been composed by an Israeli who came from Romania, “so when I’m here in Israel, I sing my song. My mission is to promote Judeo-Christian values – which means Israel. Every Christian person should promote Israel.
“As for antisemitic and anti-Zionist threats from forces that are trying to wipe Israel off the map, “we will not allow this,” Vasile insisted. “We are Christian media.”
Commenting on what Terschuren had said, Vasile stated: “We cannot change the past, but we can try to change the future.”
Simpson expressed appreciation to the Government Press Office and to Rivlin, “for hosting us right here in God’s city.”
He told his hosts that Christians love Israel and the Jewish people. “We are your friends and your defenders,” he said.
The imperative of everyone at the Christian Summit was to combat the evil of Satan, which from the very beginning has been trying to destroy the Jewish People “the most persecuted people in the world.”
It’s a supernatural hate, he said. Jews are not safe – “not in their homes and not in their synagogues. We are on the side of the Jewish people. To all our Jewish sisters and brothers, we say we love you.”