'True peace is not made with a piece of paper'

President Rivlin participates in reception in honor of Europe Day.

Orli Harari ,

Rivlin with EU Ambassador Giaufret
Rivlin with EU Ambassador Giaufret
Mark Neiman/GPO and Guy Yehieli

President Reuven Rivlin spoke on Wednesday evening at a reception in honor of Europe Day, held at the Eurovision Village in Tel Aviv.

Ambassador of the EU to Israel Emanuele Giaufret, Mayor of Tel Aviv-Jaffa Ron Huldai and other ambassadors of European countries also attended the event.

The president offered his congratulations for Europe Day, saying, “We are currently hosting here in Israel one of the best examples of European integration and friendship – the Eurovision Song Contest. This year’s theme, ‘Dare to Dream’, could equally easily be the motto on the EU’s flag.”

“It is only natural that the EU and Israel are partners and allies. Both of us are the result of dreams that became reality, thanks to the determination and courage of their founders. We also share the values of democracy, diversity and human rights,” he continued.

“Despite these natural links, we do not take our flourishing relations for granted,” the president added. “All of you here, and particularly you, Ambassador Giaufret, have made tremendous contributions to strengthening our relations, and we appreciate it very much.”

The president noted the range of cooperation between Israel and the EU in the field of science through the Horizon 2020 program, in cyber-security and counter-terrorism, R&D centers and the Open Skies agreement, saying, “We can do even more together. Political considerations should not stand in the way of cooperation.”

The president also said, “I believe that we in the Middle East need to learn from the experience of the European Union which succeeded because it was established on the basis of economic cooperation and mutual obligation. By creating a shared economy and bringing people together through trade, the EU created a solid basis for durable peace. We all dream of peace between Israel and the Palestinians and between all the peoples of the Middle East.”

“If we want to realize this dream, we should take a similar approach. The EU and European states can and should play a major role in a broad international effort to invest in Israeli-Palestinian economic cooperation and joint ventures. Let us build Israeli-Palestinian high-tech centers, and joint industrial parks. Let us establish joint research projects between Israeli, Palestinian and European universities, and joint funds between Israeli, Palestinian and European investors.”

As well as calling for joint ventures, the president also said, “In the Middle East, like in Europe, there are no short cuts. We were reminded of that recently, when Hamas fired 700 rockets on Israeli men, women and children and killed four of our citizens.”

“We appreciate the declarations of support many of you sent. But as the ongoing terrorist attacks show, true peace is not made with a piece of paper. Ending decades of conflict requires firstly bringing people together, creating partnerships and strengthening shared interests,” said Rivlin.

Ambassador of the EU to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, said, “The EU will remain an important partner for Israel as we celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations and friendship. We remain committed to peace in the region, and believe it is possible through meaningful negotiations towards a two-state solution. The EU reiterates its fundamental commitment to the security of Israel."

Said Mayor of Tel Aviv-Jaffa Ron Huldai, “The creation of the European Community in 1950 is a testament to the courage and determination to end the conflict that claimed the lives of tens of millions of people in wars on its lands. You proved that peace is not always made with those you love, but those you need to and in order to create a better reality for people.”

“As Mayor of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, I am delighted that one of your celebrations made it over here from Europe. A little contest, quite tiny really, just 42 countries, is happening in Tel Aviv-Jaffa this week, and you can feel that we are really in Europe. As far as I am concerned, whoever wins the Eurovision Song Contest the most important thing is that we continue to celebrate Europe Day and the growing cooperation between the Tel Aviv- Jaffa Municipality and the EU, as we have done so happily in recent years. And if we need to sing in order to do it - then let’s sing,” he added.