Meeting with leaders of the Jewish community of Madrid on Sunday, President Reuven Rivlin pledged Israel’s support in the fight against anti-Semitism and celebrated 100 years of resurgent Jewish presence in the country.
Rivlin took part in an event at Madrid’s Ibn Gabirol School to mark 100 years since the reestablishment of the nation’s Jewish community after the expulsion of 1492.
“The community here today is a magnificent community, with tens of thousands of members of all ages,” he said. “Jewish life on the Iberian Peninsula, which was cut off more than 500 years ago, is now full of life, and this is a great joy. This is a great victory for history and the spirit of the Jewish people.”
He added that he was aware of the community’s concerns over growing incidents of anti-Semitism directed against local Jews.
“According to the Spanish interior minister’s report on anti-Semitism, in recent years there has been a rise of hundreds of percent in manifestations of anti-Semitism in Spain,” and said.
“We must not surrender to anti-Semitism, we must fight it. I am pleased that the Spanish government is taking steps in legislation and enforcement against this ugly phenomenon. We must not be ashamed of or hide our identity.
“I know that there are concerns, and fears of terrorism against Jews, and of anti-Semitism which poses as criticism against Israel. We will fight these challenges together,” he said.