Rivlin speaks to UN ambassadors
Rivlin speaks to UN ambassadorsHaim Zach/GPO

President of Israel Reuven Rivlin met today with a delegation of ambassadors from around the world to the United Nations. Israeli Ambassador to the United States and to the United Nations Gilad Erdan and Lea Goldin, mother of Hadar, whose body is being held by Hamas in Gaza, also participated in the meeting.

The president met Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield of the United States; Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya of the Russian Federation; Ambassador Jamal Al Rowaiei of the Kingdom of Bahrain; Ambassador Omar Hilale of the Kingdom of Morocco; Ambassador Barbara Woodward of the United Kingdom; Ambassador Mitch Fifield of Australia; Ambassador Bob Rea of Canada; Ambassador Andreas Hadjichrysanthou of Cyprus; Ambassador Alexander Marschik of Austria; Ambassador Vanessa Frazier of Malta; Ambassador Harold Agyeman of Ghana; Ambassador Besiana Kadare of Albania; Ambassador Lachezara Stoeva of Bulgaria; Ambassador Martin Kimani of Kenya; Ambassador Zsuzsanna Horváth of Hungary; Ambassador Luis António Lam Padilla of Guatemala; Ambassador Doma Tshering of the Kingdom of Bhutan; Ambassador Juan Ramón de la Fuente of Mexico; Ambassador Maria Theofili of Greece; and Ambassador Mary Elizabeth Flores Flake of Honduras.

At the beginning of his remarks, the president sent a message to Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, saying “We must forget the past, once and forever. We were not doomed to live together between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. We were destined to live together. That is our only hope for ending this conflict. The State of Israel is here to stay, in eternity. Let us build trust between the peoples, let us return to talking about the future and let us aim for a brighter and better future for our peoples.”

Speaking to the ambassadors, the president mentioned his discussion yesterday with US President Joe Biden. “Among the issues we discussed, I said that the Middle East is at a crossroads, a turning point. We have an historic opportunity, an historic responsibility, to choose the right path. What lies ahead for us is the choice between war and peace, prosperity and poverty, mistrust and alliance, staying apart and working together. Our choice, today, is between normalcy and constant hostility.”

Speaking about Iran, the president said that the Iranian regime is a threat and a danger to the whole world and is not interested in normalcy. “Between peace and war, Tehran made its choice. Tehran chooses death, supports terror, and prefers war over peace. So far, Iran has undermined normal life in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. The current regime in Iran seeks to control the Persian Gulf. And above all they are focused on eliminating the State of Israel. The election of Ebrahim Raisi, an extremist responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iranians, as president demonstrates once again that the Iranian regime has no intention of ending its support for terror and its aggression against its neighbors. Their vision and policy is to counter normalization. To doom the whole region to endless conflict and misery,” he added. “The international community has to force Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency in order to protect the Middle East. Letting the Iranians maintain their nuclear program is irresponsible. Allowing this irresponsible regime to obtain a weapon of mass destruction is a serious and dangerous mistake.”

The president introduced the ambassadors to Lea Goldin, the mother of Hadar, whose body is held by Hamas and said to them, “We are asking you today to join us in the diplomatic efforts to bring Hadar and all of our captives home. Help us put an end to this ongoing nightmare. And thank you, Lea, for joining me here today.” He ended his remarks by calling on the ambassadors to work together with Israel as a moderate states, allies and partners for peace and prosperity, saying “Building a brighter future requires opposing all forms of extremism and racism, including antisemitism which is, unfortunately, on the rise around the world. We call on the UN, and all governments, to show zero tolerance for all forms of antisemitism, and to use all tools at their disposal, from education to security and law enforcement, as well as adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism, in order to counter these threats.”

Israeli Ambassador to the United States and to the United Nations Gilad Erdan: “It is undeniable that there is a strong bias against Israel at the UN and that antisemitism has infected too many UN bodies. The sheer number of anti-Israel resolutions in the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, as well as the wasted discussions in the Security Council that should be focused on real threats to peace and security, like Iran, make this abundantly clear. In 1947, the UN’s 57 members voted in favor of establishing a Jewish State in the Land of Israel. Today, with 193 members, many of them allies, I am not sure that such a resolution would pass. This should worry us all.”

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, “The commitment of the United States to Israel’s security is steadfast. I am proud to stand with Israel when biased and one-sided actions are taken against her. I hope we are able to bring progress towards peace between Israel and the Palestinians. I would like to thank President Rivlin for his friendship and partnership over the years. This is a legacy that you are leaving behind you for Israel that will resonate for generations to come.”

Moroccan Ambassador to the United Nations Omar Hilale: “I am very happy to be here with you today, to celebrate friendship and partnership. Between the Moroccan and Israeli peoples there are 3000 years of friendship and co-existence. We shared the building of our country, and the Moroccan government took care to preserve and protect the Jewish community which has been part of us for so many years. I see the Middle East changing and I do not deny the dangers and difficulties, but I am very optimistic. What happened a few months ago is nothing short of historic. Nobody expected that the State of Israel would reach agreements such as these. I did not imagine that I would celebrate Chanukah here in New York as ambassador, and it fills me with hope and optimism. This is an opportunity for progress, to advance dialog, to ensure our security. We have no alternative to peace. The peace of every nation is connected to the peace of its neighbor in the family of nations. As part of the family of nations, we have a responsibility for this unity and for these shared values and for building a better future for the region as a whole. The UN has an obligation to fight hatred, Islamophobia, antisemitism. We are all the children of Abraham, and we all share the same future. Mr. President, now that you will have a little more time on your hands, come and visit us in Morocco, please.”