President Reuven Rivlin addressed the Brookings Institute in Washington on Thursday, calling for “common ground” to be found between the different population groups in Israel.
In his speech, and the discussion that followed, Rivlin spoke about the changing face of Israel’s society according to statistics gathered by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).
He called for that common ground to be found based on the ability to listen and understand, and not upon coercion.
“It is almost impossible to impose something upon someone, whenever it is possible they will rebel. So we have to find the understanding that we are living in communities, but the communities need to cooperate because we are living also as one country, as one people, as one people that have different approaches to life, and believe in different approaches to the way of life and even values, but we have to have common values and the understanding that every one of us can live together with the other side. The melting pot has to be something which is found by every one of us," he said.
Following the event, Rivlin went on to meet with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, on Capitol Hill.
The President thanked Ryan for his support for the State of Israel, and reiterated the importance of the relationship between Israel and the United States.
Later, the President met with AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr, and Director of Policy and Government Affairs Dr. Marvin Feuer. The President thanked them for the organization’s unwavering efforts for the sake of the State of Israel.
Rivlin is currently on a trip to Washington, where he met with President Barack Obama on Wednesday.
President Obama stressed the meeting was "an opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bonds between Israel and the United States," adding that "our commitment to Israel's security is an important pillar of U.S. foreign policy."
The remark was likely an attempt to convey a clear message of American support for Israel, despite strains between the two countries earlier in the year over the Iran nuclear deal.
Obama also took the opportunity to condemn Palestinian violence, urging Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to "unequivocally condemn the violence...and end incitement."
He added that there was a "need for Israelis and Palestinians to find mechanisms in which to dialogue."
"Obviously this is a time at which the prospects of a serious peace may seem distant, it's important that we continue to try," Obama said.