President Reuven Rivlin struck a celebratory but troubled tone in a Rosh Hashanah greetings video Saturday, saying the ritual sound of the Jewish shofar was also “an alarm call for our community, our family and for ourselves” to come together rather than apart in a sometimes hostile world.
The president urged closer relations between Israelis and the diaspora. Addressing “the younger generation” of diaspora Jews who he acknowledge may feel some disenchantment with the Jewish state over its prolonged conflict with the Palestinians, Rivlin called for engagement and greater involvement.
“Do not take Israel for granted. Do not forget that our destinies our tied together. I know very well that you may look at Israel and not see yourself in the mirror,” Rivlin said.
“You hear arguments about the region, between right and left, and you see the conflict that has been forced on us with our neighbors, with our cousins, the Muslims, and you feel you have no voice. I say to you — this year come to Israel and visit. Come to Israel and learn. Israel is a strong democracy. Come and hear and be here, and be heard. Because we are one people and have a duty to each other.”
Rivlin also highlighted the need to “build bridges” between Israel’s various communities, whether religious or secular, Jewish or Arab.
“We must build together a ‘Tikva’ — a shared hope for Israel, for our shared future in this land,” he said.
The president said Jews must feel secure wherever they live in the world, “free to wear a kippah in the street” without fear of harassment.
“Every Jew will always have a home in Israel, but [all Jews] should have the right to live without fear where they wish, and we must stand for this right.”