Rivlin set to begin Spain visit

Although Rivlin’s visit celebrates 30 years of diplomatic ties between Spain and Israel, this year is also the 525th anniversary year of the expulsion of Spanish Jewry.

President Reuven Rivlin (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
President Reuven Rivlin
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
President Reuven Rivlin is due to fly out of Israel to Spain on Sunday morning and to meet with the Jewish community leaders in the evening.
Rivlin’s visit is in celebration of 30 years of diplomatic ties with Spain.
The meeting with the Jewish community leaders will be the first of the trip. It will be closed to journalists traveling with the president, and will be covered only by the Government Press Office.
Later in the evening journalists will be able to cover the meeting between Rivlin and the larger Jewish community of Spain, which will take place at the Ibn Gabirol School in Madrid, which was established in 1965 and has some 300 students.
Rivlin will be officially welcomed by Isaac Querub, the president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, and Madrid Jewish community President David Hatchwell Altaras, who also serves on the Executive Planning Committee of Taglit Birthright and is the chairman of Taglit Europe.
Hatchwell Altaras serves on the executive boards of several global Jewish organizations, is active in interfaith work and is a co-founder of ACOM (Accion y Comunicacion para Oriente Medio), Spain’s leading pro-Israel public diplomacy platform, which has been operational since 2007.
On Monday, Rivlin and his wife, Nechama, will be hosted at a welcome reception at the royal palace as the guests of King Felipe.
Later in the morning Rivlin will meet with Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena, who will present him with the gold keys of the city.
After that Rivlin will meet again with the king for a working discussion, and in the evening the Rivlins will dine at the royal table.
On Tuesday, Rivlin will open an economics seminar at the headquarters of the Manufacturers Association of Spain. In addition to Rivlin speakers will include Luis de Guindos, Spain’s Minister of economy, industry and competitiveness, and Shraga Brosh, the president of the Israel Manufacturers Association.
From there Rivlin will travel to the Spanish parliament where he will address a joint session of the Senate and the Congress of Deputies.
He will be welcomed by Congress President Ana Pastor Julian and Senate President Pio Garcia-Escudero.
After that Rivlin will meet with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and will witness the signing of several bilateral agreements.
Rivlin, great fan of soccer, will also meet with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez. The two men will discuss the team’s work off the field for social welfare and educational causes.
The Rivlins will host a reception on Tuesday night in honor of the king and queen, the prime minister and his wife, the heads of the Spanish Jewish community and the business delegation, and representatives of cultural institutions accompanying Rivlin to Spain.
On Wednesday, Rivlin will continue on to Toledo and will meet with Mayor Milagros Tolon and other senior officials who will escort him to the city’s ancient synagogue.
In the evening, the Rivlins will board a flight back to Israel.
In view of Spain’s problems with Catalonia, it is anticipated that the Spanish leaders with whom Rivlin meets will be more circumspect than in the past in pressuring Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians.