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Rivlin promotes unity in Israel at farewell gatherings

CM 24/05/2021

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 Continuing with his round of farewell gatherings – which have included army units, hospitals, educational facilities, industrial organizations and more – President Reuven Rivlin has seized every opportunity to promote unity, partnership and cooperation not only among Arabs and Jews, but between all sectors of society. He emphasized over and over again, that Jews and Arabs were not doomed to live together, but destined to live together, and as far as Jews are concerned – regardless of their differences – they are all part of one family.

Among the more recent of the farewells was one held on Sunday evening with bereaved families at Beit Yad Lebanim in Ramat Hasharon.
It was arguably the largest gathering that Rivlin has permitted himself to attend since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
The packed auditorium which included bereaved parents, siblings, widows and orphans, was headed by Aryeh Mualem head of the Families Commemoration and Legacy division at the Defense Ministry; Tami Shelach, chair of the IDF Widows and Orphans Organization that each year brings Bar and Bat Mitzvah boys and girls whose fathers or mothers died on active duty in the IDF, to a day of touring and fun in Jerusalem that includes a visit to the President’s Residence; and Eli Ben Shem, the longtime, legendary chairman of Yad Lebanim.
Rivlin embraced, and was embraced by many of those present whom he told that at the start of his presidency, he had pledged to honor the memories of all the fallen soldiers, and to be the representative soldier of the bereaved families. “I did the best I could to keep that promise, and I will also continue to be your soldier in the future,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Rivlin stopped off at Moshav Hadid to pay a condolence call on the family of Yigal Yehoshua who had been lynched by a brutal Arab mob in Lod the previous week. Rivlin told the grieving family that their heart wrenching pain was shared by the nation as a whole. “There is no forgiveness for the atrocity perpetrated on Yigal,” he said.
Rivlin learned from the brothers of the deceased that people not only from Lod but from all over the country had come to pay their respects. They also shared anecdotes about their family’s deep connections to Israel, and of Yigal’s strong belief in coexistence.

Rivlin, whose own family came to the Land of Israel more than two centuries ago, replied: “We have no choice. We are here and we are not going anywhere.”
Rivlin also commended the family for its generosity of spirit in donating Yigal’s organs to save the lives of others, including an Arab woman.
Rivlin has less than two months left in which to complete his tenure. His successor will be elected on June 2.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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