Meeting Rivlin, Obama Reaffirms ‘Unbreakable Bond’ with Israel

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin met with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office Wednesday afternoon, for the first such meeting between the two.

Speaking to reporters at the start of the meeting, Obama said the meeting with Rivlin gives an opportunity to “reaffirm the unbreakable bonds between our two countries and our two people.”

“We consider our commitment to Israeli’s security to be one of the most important principles of American foreign policy. It is one that is shared by Democrats and Republicans alike,” the president said. “I’ll discuss with President Rivlin the work that we’re doing to develop another memorandum of understanding that can lay the foundation for additional long-term assistance for Israeli’s defenses.”

Obama also said the two would discuss the ways in which the US can be “helpful in tamping down tensions between Israeli’s and Palestinians” and “the challenges that we all face from terrorism, from instability in the Middle East.”

“Although obviously this is a time at which the prospects of a serious peace may seem distant it is important that we continue to try,” Obama said.

President Rivlin remarked, “The obvious should be said from time to time and even be written, Israel has no greater friend than the United States.”

He thanked Obama for financial, military and diplomatic help that the US had provided Israel on his watch. The Israeli President compared Obama to the “Shammes” – the middle candle that kindles the 8 candles. “The Shamash is not a civil servant — it is the leader. The leader who, with him, we are lighting all the candles. And we know, Mr. President, that you have lit the candles for the last seven years to show the way and the right way to your people and to the entire world,” Rivlin explained. “And we are very sure that the eighth candle that you will light in the next year will be the same — to show the whole world how to go in the light and to be able to fight everything that we should not accept and we should not get along with.”

Rivlin added, “We have no war with Islam. We [are in] war against those who are using ideas in order to create extremism and threats towards the whole innocent people in the world.”

He said he and his wife were looking forward to the Hanukah reception later on at the white house .

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