Rivlin: Muslims, Jews 'Destined' to Live Together

President Reuven Rivlin, one day after Har Nof massacre, insists that Israel is facing a Jewish-Muslim conflict it does not want.

Tova Dvorin , | updated: 22:18

President Reuven Rivlin
President Reuven Rivlin
Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash 90

President Reuven Rivlin addressed the security situation Wednesday, noting that tensions in Jerusalem have ballooned into an all-out "Jewish-Muslim conflict" during a television interview. 

"Jerusalem has seen many difficult times," Rivlin said.  "I remember, as a child, living under siege. We have seen days of battle, days of Intifada and riots."

"Today, we are in a difficult struggle, and Jerusalem is faced once again with difficult times," he continued. "The Arab-Israeli conflict has become a Jewish-Muslim conflict, and unfortunately both parties understand this and yet remain silent."

"Let’s be clear: we have no war with Islam," he added, repeating similar sentiments to remarks he made to the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier earlier this week. "We did not have in the past, and we will not have in the future. We need to make this clear to everyone. Jerusalem should not have to tolerate any religious war."

"Jerusalem is the united capital of Israel and since 1967, anyone can practice their religion, in accordance with their own conscience and in complete free will."

Rivlin emphasized that, in his words, Jerusalem must remain a mixed city. 

"In the past, during days of tension in the country, peace was kept in Jerusalem out of the understanding that the city is a microcosm of our ability, as Jews and Arabs, to live together, despite national disputes," he said. " We always realized, as Israelis and Jews, that we have no quarrel with Islam, and thus avoided turning the Temple Mount into a war of Jews against Muslims. This has yet to happen, but we are in danger of the situation deteriorating."

"The Jewish and Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem are intertwined," he continued. "We are now in a situation where we all live together. Dividing Jerusalem in an artificial manner will not help. Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens, and Arab citizens of Israel, as well as the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, have to realize that we are all destined to live together in this city."

Rivlin's comments surface just one day after the massacre, which saw two Palestinian Arab terrorists storm the Kehilat Yaakov synagogue and brutally kill four people, and fatally wound another. 

The President also referred to Jews ascending the Temple Mount, saying that Jews, as well as MKs, "should not make the Temple Mount a point of controversy. Raising the issue in terms of religion brings us many shortcomings. We are sitting on a volcano".

"Every time we talk about religion, intellect and emotion is eliminated for the sake of stoking the fire," Rivlin stated. "We who are sovereign over the Temple Mount have a duty to control things [there], and we declare that having a Jewish state is not contradictory to a democratic state." 

The survey follows Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declaration recently that his intention is to maintain the "status quo" at the site, whereby Jews are forbidden to pray as a response to Muslim pressure - despite round after round of Arab rioting. 

Netanyahu emphasized that Jews would continue to be allowed to visit, but than a ban on praying would remain. Despite this, some 40% of Israel's Jews reportedly support equal prayer rights on the Mount, according to a recent poll.