President Reuven Rivlin on Friday wrapped up a whirlwind period of diplomacy after welcoming dozens of heads of state to the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, the largest-ever diplomatic gathering to be held in the Jewish state.
With over 40 kings, princes, presidents, prime ministers, parliament speakers and other dignitaries all making their way to the President’s Residence for the three day-event, the Holocaust summit turned hectic, even seeing French President Emmanuel Macron volunteer to help take pictures.
When President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus was signing the guestbook at the President’s Residence on Wednesday, Macron, who was waiting in line to meet the Israeli president, snapped a photo of Rivlin and the Cypriot leader.
“Seeing how intense our diplomatic activity was, he lent a hand, revealing another of his many talents as a photographer,” Rivlin said of Macron on Twitter.
On busy days in Jerusalem, things like this can happen. My friend @EmmanuelMacron was leaving our meeting as my friend @AnastasiadesCY was arriving.
Seeing how intense our diplomatic activity was, he lent a hand, revealing another of his many talents as a photographer. pic.twitter.com/9HLVR4UYkp
— Reuven Rivlin (@PresidentRuvi) January 22, 2020
On Friday, the final day of the diplo-marathon, Rivlin met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Canadian Governor-General Julie Payette, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen.
He somehow managed to greet them all without having to write their names on his hand, something Culture Minister Miri Regev was caught doing as she welcomed Argentina’s Fernandez at the airport.
Rivlin hosted many of the visiting dignitaries for a dinner Wednesday at his official residence in Jerusalem and held dozens of short sessions of bilateral talks Tuesday to Friday.
After all the hugs, handshakes and group photos, Rivlin also used the opportunity for more serious matters and pressed many of the leaders to condemn the December announcement by the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories after its top prosecutor said there was a “reasonable basis.”
The potential probe, which would investigate Israel and Palestinian terror groups, has been widely denounced by Israeli leaders.
“We have an ethical code and accepted rules. It is not our right to defend ourselves, it is our duty. No one in Europe would accept the reality in which they were shot at without returning fire,” Rivlin was quoted telling German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The president also spoke out against the probe while meeting Macron, King Felipe VI of Spain and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, among others.