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President Reuven Rivlin this morning met with at his residence with senior members of Christian communities around the world who support Israel. The delegation arranged by the Knesset Christian Caucus and the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast movement, included representatives of around 200 communities in more than 50 countries, and included around 30 members of parliaments. The group was visiting Israel to mark 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem. The meeting was also addressed by Chairman of the Knesset Christian Caucus, Robert Ilatov MK, and Lars Adaktusson, MEP for Sweden.

President Rivlin welcomed the delegates, and spoke of Israel’s desire to live in peace in the region. He said, “We are asking our friends, our neighbors, our opponents, our enemies to understand that the Jewish people have returned home, and this is a fact.”

President Rivlin noted the special occasion of the delegation’s visit to Jerusalem the capital of Israel, on the anniversary of the city's reunification. He said, "Today, I have the right to be free in my city."

The President went on to say, "The city of Jerusalem, which was once a divided city - is the same city where Jews and Arabs, religious and secular people, find the space to live together, to meet and get to know each other, to build a shared Jerusalem, together. Jerusalem for me, is a microcosm of our ability, to live together, Jews, Muslims, Christians. Jerusalem is holy to everyone of faith. And Israel is proud to stand by the right of everyone to worship God as they believe."

The President stressed, "But even after 50 years, we have not let Jerusalem rest. Some want to divide her, some want to see her grow, some want to see her shrink. And there are some who want to deny altogether its history, our history." He urged, "Perhaps today, as we mark half a century since the city was reunited, the time has come to bring peace to Jerusalem."

He continue, “I had the honor to welcome President Trump, in Jerusalem, just two weeks ago. I told him that it is not enough to ‘pray for the peace of Jerusalem’, we must also pray for peace in Jerusalem. That is what you are all doing. You are here, to show your support for Israel, your love for Jerusalem and your friendship with the Jewish People. We appreciate this very much.”

Robert Ilatov thanked the President for hosting the delegation. He told the many members of parliament, religious, and business leaders that, “You have come to the Land of Israel, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” He added, “The Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast movement calls Christian communities worldwide to stand, support, and pray for Jerusalem. Now the time has come to stand united behind the issue of Jerusalem. People of faith must take it upon themselves to educate on behalf of Jerusalem, to their friends, community leaders, and policy makers.” He concluded, “Let’s stand together, and build, invest, and bless Israel.”

Speaking on behalf of the delegates, Swedish MEP Lars Adaktusson, thanked the President for his hospitality and said, “My firm belief is that those of us who value the friendship between Jews and Christians, have a duty to address the roots of anti-Israeli bias wherever it occurs. The European public for a long time has been living with the impression of Israel as the source of all problems, while the Palestinians have been represented by peace loving and trust worthy leaders, without any responsibility for violence or terror.” He added, “Israel is, as we all know a, society with freedom of speech, pluralist, and the rule of law.”

He concluded, “As friends of Israel, the task is ours to provide the full picture of Israeli society to our compatriots – this is a challenge but no means an impossible task.”

Photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)