HIS EXCELLENCY’S, REUVEN RIVLIN PRESIDENT OF ISRAEL, ADDRESS ON THE OCCASION OF HIS VISIT TO THE GREEK ORTHODOX PATRIARCHATE.
The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Tuesday 14 April 2015.
A few months ago, I had the honor, of hosting you in my house, today I am honored to be your guest.
This past month we celebrated Passover and Easter, as part of traditions that are both, very different, and yet very similar. Celebrations of liberation.
When the People of Israel were slaves in Egypt, the first thing Moses asked for, was not to ease the hard work; But for the freedom of worship.
The trigger to the Exodus from Egypt was the demand of the Hebrews to “Let us worship our God”.
Religious freedom, is a value, dear to The State of Israel as a Jewish and Democratic state.
The same Freedom of Worship Which helped form the Jewish People as a nation. I am proud of our obligation, And I re-affirm that obligation, for Freedom of worship: for Muslim; Christians from all denominations, and other minorities.
We shall not allow, hate crimes against people, or houses of prayers.
Israel’s law enforcement, must deal with such crimes, accordingly. Such crimes, should not take place- not on Mount Zion nor on the Mount of Olives, not in synagogues nor in churches.
People who espouse hate, toward priests or teachers, hate all those who don’t think like them.
We should not accept such a reality. We live in a complex political and religious reality, especially here, in Jerusalem, the microcosm of the Middle East.
It is our shared duty to have proper and respectful communication between us. For many years our relations have been kept through the Status-Quo.
The Status-Quo, is not only a formal obligation.
It is an expression of understanding, and of the delicate balance of living , in a diverse community.
I believe that despite the differences and challenges, we can all establish trust, Partnership, and mutual respect as people of faith.
May we all have a joyous spring.
God bless you all.
Mr. Reuven Rivlin,
President of the State of Israel
Tuesday, 14 April 2015
An Address on the Occasion of the Visit of the President of Israel
to a Gathering of the Heads of the Churches and Christian Communities
of the Holy Land at the Patriarchate
Your Excellency, Mr. President,
Respected Members of the Government and Civil Service,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We welcome you, Mr. President, to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem on behalf of the Churches and Christian communities of the Holy Land, and we thank you for your visit during this season in which Christians throughout the region celebrate the most sacred feast of the year. At Pascha, the eyes of the world turn toward Jerusalem in hope and expectation.
We greet you also with blessings for the recent feast of Pesach. The close relationship between Pesach and Pascha are an important reminder to us all of the deep bonds that unite the children of Abraham in our respective Abrahamic traditions, of which our Muslim sisters and brothers are also an integral part.
Jerusalem and the Holy Land have always known religious, cultural, and ethnic diversity, and this diversity is an essential part of the integrity of our region. Jews, Christian and Muslim have lived here side by side for centuries, always seeking mutual understanding, and this experience is both crucial for our mutual well-being and for peace in our region and our world. Ours is a unique witness, especially in the particularly turbulent current situation of the Middle East region, of the possibility of a future in which all peoples may realize there is no better alternative than to live together in genuine harmony. Therefore, we will keep this vision before us in this city, which is holy to all three Abrahamic faiths, and in fact, to the whole world.
We wish to acknowledge and commend you, Mr. President, for the strong stance you have taken against religious bigotry of any kind, and for the actions you have taken against crimes targeting religious shrines, monuments, and the Holy Places. We share with you, Mr. President, an abhorrence of prejudice of any kind, and we support the protection of communities and sacred places against attacks and vandalism. Such acts have no place in this city or in this Holy Land.
We re-affirm to you our commitment as the Heads of the Churches and Christian communities of the Holy Land to be an effective partner in your mission, together with all who strive for peace in our beloved Holy Land. This is our moral duty and responsibility as religious leaders, and we cannot rest until all those who call Jerusalem their home come to know the peace of Jerusalem, for which we all pray.
Again and again, we return to the words of the Psalmist who says, “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! For there the Lord ordained His blessing, life for evermore” (Psalm 132 : 1,3).
It is the responsibility of all the children of Abraham, Jew, Christian, and Muslim, to live the full meaning of this promise, so that the Light that shines from this Holy City may always be a beacon of hope to all humankind.
May God bless you, Mr. President, your family, and all the peoples of our beloved Holy Land, and may God grant you strength for the work that is yours.
PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM