President Reuven Rivlin speaks to Channel 2 following Tuesday’s terror attack at a synagogue in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof, in which Palestinian terrorists brutally murdered four Jewish worshipers during morning prayers. A fifth victim, a Druze policeman who had been seriously wounded in a gunfight with the terrorists, succumbed to his wounds last night.
“Jerusalem has seen many hard times, there were days in which we faced more difficult times than these, and as a child I was under siege. There were days of battle and there were days of intifada and of riots,” Rivlin says.
“It has never been a religious war. Even though fundamentalism and incitement always found their way in, even when we did not allow them to do so.”
“This is not an easy battle, these are difficult times for Jerusalem in which the political conflict for the city, the national campaign, the Arab-Israeli conflict, has become a Jewish-Muslim dispute, and unfortunately both parties understand this and do nothing.”
“We have no quarrel with Islam, we did not have and will not have, and so we need to make it clear to everyone. Enough of this. Jerusalem should not and can not tolerate any religious war. Jerusalem is the united capital of Israel. Since 1967, anyone can practice his religion freely according to his own beliefs.”
The president says that over the past decades, Palestinian and Israeli life in Jerusalem has become intertwined, and both sides have no choice but to work together in order to advance peace and promote dialogue in the city. He urges Israelis to avoid taking steps that will potentially heighten tensions surrounding the Temple Mount.
“Jewish and Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem are interlaced one with the other. We have passed the point of no return. We are now in a situation where we all live together. Building and dividing Jerusalem in an artificial manner will not help.”
“Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens and Arabs who are the citizens of Israel and the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem have to realize, we are meant to live together in this city.”
The president urges Israelis to avoid taking steps that will potentially heighten tensions surrounding the Temple Mount.
“We have always realized, as Israelis and as Jews, that we are not fighting Islam and thus avoided turning the Temple Mount issue into a war of Jews against Muslims. This is the way things were, but it is currently fading.”
“It would be best if [Israeli] leaders realized that they should not raise the issue of control over the Temple Mount.”