WATCH: Presidents Obama and Rivlin Celebrate Hanukkah in the White House

Obama paid tribute to the long-standing ties between Israel and the U.S. and praised what he called President Rivlin's 'commitment to equality and justice.'

Rivlin lights a menorah as he joins Obama for a Hanukkah reception at the White House
Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama reaffirmed what he called "the unbreakable bond" between the U.S. and Israel while celebrating Hanukkah with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the White House on Wednesday.

The two presidents held a private meeting before hosting a Hanukkah celebration at the White House that included lighting the White House Menorah.

Obama paid tribute to the long-standing ties between the two countries, and what he called President Rivlin's "commitment to equality and justice."

The President and the President of Israel Speak at the White House Hanukkah Reception White House

"Earlier today, we had an excellent meeting where we reaffirmed the unbreakable bond between the Untied States and Israel," he said to enthusiastic applause. "President Rivlin is a strong voice for equal treatment of all citizens of Israel and greater understanding between Israelis and Palestinians. I was deeply moved by his expressions of commitment to equality and justice."

President Rivlin hailed what he called, "Obama's strong moral leadership in the world."

"Today, we are all looking for strong and clear moral leadership of the kind you represent, President Obama. (applause) Leadership, leadership committed to the safety of each people, to the opportunity and dignity of every human being."

Rivlin then lit the White House Menorah, as the audience sang traditional Jewish songs, and the two men then shook hands.