COP Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein presents President Reuven Rivlin with a Yad T
COP Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein presents President Reuven Rivlin with a Yad T Avi Hayun

President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday addressed the delegates of the 42nd annual Conference of Presidents’ Leadership Mission to Israel, and said that Israel should not become a divisive topic in this American election season.

“Support for Israel has never been and must not become a partisan issue,” Rivlin told the delegation.

Noting the worldwide rise of anti-Semitism, he added, “We must stand together against this disease. Israel is your partner in this fight and you our partner.”

Referring to the recent violence in Israel, Rivlin said, “The wave of terror does not discriminate against right and left, or between Jews and Arabs. We continue to pay a heavy price for our independence. We appreciate your support very much during these difficult times, and we know that we have you as partners because we are the same people.”

When asked about his priorities as President of Israel, he said, “We are living a tragedy here because we cannot find peace with the Palestinians. There is no trust between Israel and the Palestinians. We have already spent 70 years without confidence measures that can bring us trust.”

“There is a need to build bridges with Israeli Arabs in a confederation of minorities,” continued Rivlin. “It is time to establish a constitution. We have to make it possible for all the communities of Israel to know each other, it is our destiny to live together.”

The President said that the real problem is with extremists who believe that incitement brings them power.

The delegates of the Conference of the Presidents have been busy during the visit to the region, meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

The meeting with Al-Sisi was particularly “eye opening” for the delegates, as Stephen M. Greenberg, chairman of the Conference of Presidents, told Arutz Sheva this week.

“The meeting with President Sisi, to me, was something I had never envisioned,” he added. “[Sisi] was overtly clear about the strong ties between Israel and Egypt.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also addressed the visiting Jewish American leaders, blasting the UN’s bias against Israel while also praising Israel’s relations with other countries - and especially Arab countries which are beginning to understand that Israel isn’t their enemy.