'We are connected' Rivlin tells Jewish Media Summit participants

He noted that some of the leading figures in contemporary Jewish history such as Theodor Herzl, Nahum Sokolov and Benjamin Ze'ev Jabotinsky "were writers and reporters who told our story."

Reuven Rivlin
Rifts with Israel’s Chief Rabbinate on various religious issues have caused many Diaspora Jews to question their relationship to Israel.
But in response to a question from Gary Rosenblatt editor and publisher of The Jewish Week of New York, President Reuven Rivlin, by-passing the differences in the various streams of Judaism, declared “We are all connected.”
Rosenblatt was one of 150 journalists and bloggers from 30 countries who had come to Israel for the Jewish Media Summit organized by the Government Press Office.
On Wednesday, they came to the President’s Residence to meet with Rivlin who said at the start of his address: “Our words have defined who we are – in our books and in our hearts in our long historical journey.”
He noted that some of the leading figures in contemporary Jewish history such as Theodor Herzl, Nahum Sokolov and Ze’ev Jabotinsky “were writers and reporters who told our story.”
Rivlin urged his audience to likewise tell Israel’s story, adding that while they differed from Herzl, Sokolov and Jabotinsky in their use of Instagram, Facebook, emojis and YouTube, “The task is still the same.”
Just as words can tell the story, they can also do terrible harm and bring about tragedy through hatred evil and ignorance, said Rivlin, alluding to some of the malicious writings about Israel.
The conversation about Israel today is not only in the traditional media but also in social media, he said, telling his guests: “You are in the forefront of that conversation.”
When speaking to Jewish audiences, Rivlin often refers to his Jewish Hope project designed to bring together ultra-Orthodox, National Religious, secular and Arab populations from the earliest possible age.
In general, they don’t know each other he explained, because they lead different lifestyles and have separate educational systems.
Whereas the secular and National Religious Jews may get to know each other in the IDF, the ultra-Orthodox and Arabs get to meet each other as well as secular and National Religious Jews only in the workplace.
Rivlin refered to them as four tribes, and to Diaspora Jewry as the fifth tribe.
When Rosenblatt asked him to elaborate on the fifth tribe, Rivlin went into a more detailed explanation of the four tribes, and then spoke in general terms of Israel’s achievements during 70 years of statehood, adding that Israel is not only a secure state but a Jewish and democratic state.
“The two go together and cannot be separated,” he said.
Promoting aliyah, Rivlin said “Israel is the home of the Jewish People and whoever decides to come – you will be welcome.”
Realizing he had not answered Rosenblatt’s question, Rivlin said: “We are connected even though we are citizens of different democracies. We have a lot in common, and we have to cooperate in Israel and in the Jewish world.”
Rivlin also mentioned Israel’s responsibility to Diaspora Jews when they are under antisemitic attack.
Introducing the Jewish Media Summit participants to Rivlin, Government Press Office director Nitzan Chen described them as “a powerhouse of professionals who can advocate for us in the world.”
Turning to the participants, Chen said: “You have the power to make change and influence world Jewry.”