Rivlin makes plea for unity in Ramadan greeting

New president sends bilingual message of interfaith unity, urges trust between Jews, Arabs ‘in trying times’

Yifa Yaakov is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

President Reuven Rivlin visiting an injured soldier in Beersheba, Monday. (photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin visiting an injured soldier in Beersheba, Monday. (photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)

Newly minted President Reuven Rivlin called on members of all Abrahamic faiths to find unity, even as Israelis and Palestinians fight a bloody war and ethnic tensions continue to ramp up, in a holiday greeting to Israel’s Muslims Monday.

Rivlin posted a message on Facebook in honor of Eid al-Fitr, which began Monday and marks the end of the Ramadan month.

“The sons of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael are each measured by their ability to respect the faith of the other, in tough times as well, and even in these days of bloodshed,” Rivlin wrote in the message.

“In the shadow of these days, my belief that creating trust — not just between leaders, but between the peoples that live here — is a precondition for our ability to build a life of hope and a shared future,” he added.

The message was the first directed at Israel’s Arab community since Rivlin, seen as a hawk, took office on Thursday, taking over for elder statesman Shimon Peres, widely regarded as a peacemaker.

The president also spent the day visiting injured soldiers at Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Centerl and with the families of soldiers killed during Operation Protective Edge.

Rivlin wished Israel’s Muslims a happy holiday in both Hebrew and Arabic, stating that “Eid al-Fitr is a holiday of joy, prayer and reconciliation, between relatives, friends and partners.

“Establishing such trust requires attentiveness, constant rapprochement and understanding of the other,” he wrote.

Expressing hope for “days of rapprochement of understanding, between people and between nations,” the president said: “We, the children of Abraham, must live by the understanding that we were not forced to live together, but we are fated to live together.”

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