Rivlin speaks at mass prayer ceremony for Sigd holiday

'Citizens of Israel will not be party to discrimination on the basis of skin color. We are brothers and sisters.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Celebrating Sigd (archive)
Celebrating Sigd (archive)
Yaniv Nadav, Flash 90

President Reuven Rivlin spoke today, Wednesday, at prayers to mark the Sigd holiday of the Ethiopian-Israeli community that took place at the Sherover Promenade (Tayelet) in Armon Hanatziv, Jerusalem. The president shook hands warmly with the leaders of the community and thanks them for inviting him to open the special ceremony.

“’Jeena, Jeena, Ierusalem’, ‘Longing, Longing for Jerusalem’ – this is what we sing to Jerusalem in the prayers of the festival. And those prayers: those ancient, wonderful prayers that you kept hold of and held dear to you and learned by heart and taught your children and passed down the generations. They are prayers of wonder and expectation all the way to Ierusalem,” began the president.

“You brought a spirit of heroism and nobility that was sorely tested on the difficult journey you undertook, and over the long years of expectation and yearning. And you brought with you an ancient and passionate love for Zion, a love without bounds,” he said.

Referring to the incident at the Barkan winery, the president said, “This is not what we were longing for. Citizens of Israel will not be party to discrimination on the basis of skin color. We are brothers and sisters, and anyone who tries to undermine that has no place amongst the tribes of Israel.”

The president emphasized the efforts being made to secure the release of Avera Mengistu and the good relations between Israel and Ethiopia: “At this time, I would like to speak about Avera. Fate has made him everyone’s son, and his absence and our concern for his safety have already cast a shadow over the celebration of this holiday for four long years. This year, I had the privilege to be the first Israeli president to visit Ethiopia. On my visit, I asked the president and the prime minister to work for Avera’s release, and said I was hopeful that because of the Ethiopian-Israeli community here, the relations between the two countries will become stronger.”

“We have much work ahead of us, but how good it is to know that we have returned home. When we are here together, sharing Israeli Hope and a single path that leads to Jerusalem. Happy Sigd!,” concluded the president.