Rivlin calls on Jews to unite, in English-language Rosh Hashanah video
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Rivlin calls on Jews to unite, in English-language Rosh Hashanah video

Israeli president says community must come together to stand up to anti-Semitism and racism, Jews must feel safe wherever they are in the world

President Reuven Rivlin delivers English-language new year's greeting, September 8, 2018 (YouTube screenshot)
President Reuven Rivlin delivers English-language new year's greeting, September 8, 2018 (YouTube screenshot)

President Reuven Rivlin released an English-language greeting Saturday to mark the Jewish new year in which he emphasized the importance of the connections between Jewish people, noting the shared root in the Hebrew words for “friend” and “connection.”

“The bonds that hold us together stretch across the world today and deep into our shared history. I know we are at a time when some see the things that divide us more clearly than those that unite us,” said Rivlin.

“For some, it can be hard to see what we have in common. I know that there are times when we do not agree with each other. I know there are times when we do not feel like friends. So, as we approach this Rosh Hashanah, let us reflect on what we share, on the links that bind us together,” he said.

His message comes following a year that has seen bitter disputes between Israel and Diaspora Jewish communities, particularly over a decision to suspend a 2016 decision to guarantee non-Orthodox Jews permanent access for pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall.

Israel has also taken to detaining Jewish left-wing activists, critical of Israel, who try to enter the country.

Rivlin said it was time to concentrate on the values that bring Jews together, rather than divide them.

“We are one people, with a shared history and a shared future. We share a commitment to the future of the Jewish people, despite our differences. We share a belief in a better world, and a commitment to bring it about,” he said.

Rivlin also said that Jews must unite to “face the challenge of rising antisemitism, of racism and hatred, around the world. Wherever we choose to live, we must be able to feel proud of being Jewish, and safe to identify as Jewish in whatever way we choose.”

He concluded by saying that in Israel “society brings together different communities: Religious and secular, Jewish and Arab, old and young, left and right. We share this land that we love…So let us hope that this year we will feel closer to each other, more like friends.”

Rivlin’s video is in contrast to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who displayed self-deprecating humor when he released a video in which he is seen boring an Israeli family to despair in listing his government’s achievements.

Outgoing IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot loves the sunglasses emoji, can change out of his uniform in less than 20 seconds, and drinks way too much espresso coffee. Those are some of the factoids gleaned from a festive interview conducted with the army head for the upcoming Rosh Hashanah holiday.

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