JERUSALEM (JTA) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s approach to the Middle East offers a brighter outlook to the region, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told American Jewish leaders in a wide-ranging conference call.
“With the election of President Trump, we have new hope for peace and reconciliation with our neighbours,” Rivlin said in the conversation Wednesday with leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in honour of the Jewish New Year, according to his office.
“Never before has our cooperation with regional powers been so close and open. There is much to thank the American administration for this positive development. We hope of course that this is just the beginning, of much warmer connections.”
He noted that Israel remains concerned about the situation in Syria.
“We continue to help the injured who arrive at our gates, but we are concerned,” Rivlin said. “We are concerned by the growing Iranian presence near our northern border. Israel will not tolerate any such threats to come too close. If we have to, we will act to prevent this. We have red lines that are very clear.”
He said that Interpol’s decision to include the “State of Palestine” as a full member “will harm Interpol’s ability to fight international terror” and called it a “political decision.”
“It is very sad that the Palestinians have been able to politicize another professional body as part of their campaign to undermine peace talks and delegitimize Israel.”
Rivlin also expressed concern about a blacklist of companies that do business in Israel that is being compiled by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
On Israel’s relationship with the Diaspora, Rivlin noted there had been several low points last year.
“Many of them were deep disappointments when expectations were not met, some people are quick to let go,” the president said. “They talk of separation, of a growing gap, of a crisis that cannot be stopped. That is not our way.
“We will never let go of you. We will never turn away from our family, outside of Israel. It is time we listen and learn. It is time we learn to really understand each other better. It is time to face, not only what ties us together, but also what makes us different.”
Rivlin also wished American Jews a happy and healthy new year.