Rivlin with heads of Jewish communities
Rivlin with heads of Jewish communitiesAmos Ben Gershom/GPO

President Reuven Rivlin met on Wednesday evening with some 20 heads of Jewish communities from the United States, Turkey, Argentina, Australia, South Africa and other countries.

The delegation was led by Dr. Maram Stern, Executive Vice President of the World Jewish Congress (WJC). The president invited members of the Goldin and Shaul family, who have joined his visit to Germany, to participate in the meeting.

The president asked the heads of the communities to put the issue of the return of the soldiers before all relevant bodies in their home countries, and to help in any way possible to raise the profile of the issue.

The leaders told the president of the challenges facing Jewish communities around the world, of the rise in anti-Semitism, of the fear that accompanies communal gatherings and the change they feel in recent years.

During the meeting, Rivlin said, “We are one family. Everyone has their own difficulties in their country, but we all stand together. Our sense of mutual obligation must be heard in a single voice demanding the return of Hadar and Oron.”

The president also said, “I am happy and excited to meet you. Our conversation is important and this is the time to work together and to make use of the mutual obligation we have for each other. Jewish communities are our fifth tribe. I know that your communities face the threat of rising anti-Semitism. We are deeply concerned by it. Each country and government bears the responsibility for the safety of its Jewish community, and we in the State of Israel are committed to doing everything we can to help in this fight.”

Zehava Shaul, the mother of Oron Shaul, said to the communal leaders, “I stand with you and I ask you to stand with us, with our son. Help us bring him home and fulfil the religious obligation of recovering hostages.”

Earlier in the day, the President together with the President of Germany and the President of the Bundestag met with young people from across Europe who are part of a student exchange on a program that deals with anti-Semitism.

President Rivlin will return to Israel on Thursday.