Israel concerned about polarization of US society, Rivlin tells American Jewish leaders

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Reuven Rivlin told American Jewish leaders that Israel is concerned about the polarization of society in the United States.

The Israeli president addressed the opening meeting of the annual leadership mission of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Organizations on Sunday evening.

“In Israel, we are very concerned by polarization in society, and in politics. And we share your concerns, for these trends – the polarization of society – that you have experienced in the US. When a society is divided, it is not easy to find and maintain the shared vision, and the shared space. Sometimes, it is only at times of tragedy that we are able to come together. America’s strength is important and dear to us all,” Rivlin said in his address.

Rivlin cautioned that Israel should not be used as a “political football.

“We cannot allow Israel to be a political football between different sides, between different ideologies. Support for Israel must and will always remain a bi-partisan issue, he said.

He also sent “warm wishes” to his counterpart, U.S. President Donald Trump and added that “I hope he is able to visit us soon.”

Rivlin reassured the more than 100 leaders from the Conference’s 52 member organizations and National Leadership Council about the future of Israel.

“Friends, we respect all the Jews in North America, and we know that Israel is important to you. We appreciate your concern, and we have no doubt that whatever your politics, you care for the safety for the prosperity and for the well-being of the State of Israel. I assure you all that we will continue to build this country, as a light unto the nations, a Jewish democratic state,” he said.

A delegation of the group met Sunday with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, who told the Jewish leaders that ending the Israel-Palestinian conflict is one of his top priorities and that reaching a regional peace deal would bring a halt to most terror attacks, the Times of Israel reported.