'Your Home Is My Home:' Israeli President's Moving Call for Arab-Jewish Co-existence

Rivlin, who hosted an iftar feast, tweeted in both Hebrew and Arabic, expressing concerns over Israel's democratic values

Preident Reuven Rivlin with Sheik Kiwan Mohamad, the chairman of the Council of Muslim Leaders in Israel, May 27, 2019.
Mark Naiman / GPO

President Reuven Rivlin spoke of the importance of finding a way for Jews and Arabs to live together in harmony during an iftar feast he hosted Monday night to break the daily fast of Ramadan.

Leaders from the Arab community attended the annual ceremony at the President's Residence in Jerusalem as Rivlin spoke of his wife, Nechama, who has been at the Beilinson Hospital following a lung transplant on March 11.

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“I must admit that this year, because of my wife Nechama's hospitalization I needed no reminder of Ramadan. The medical staff that takes care of Nechama, and of all of us, like all the other patients at Beilinson Hospital, is made up of Jews and Arabs in all positions – doctors, nurses, medical assistants, occupational therapists and others,” Rivlin tweeted.

Rivlin expressed great appreciation for the medical staff's ability to work while fasting, adding that "many of the guests here are people who devote their daily lives to creating a reality in which Jews and Arabs will not only be sick next to each other, but to work, learn, work together, side by hand."

"In the end and in spite of them, we will succeed because we have found a way to live together," Rivlin further tweeted.

Rivlin went on to speak of the political situation, expressing concerns that the democratic values of Israel are under threat due to attacks on Israel's Arab population.

"This election system, unfortunately, has two negative records regarding the relationship between Jews and Arabs in the State of Israel. The first was in the severe attacks on the political legitimacy of the Arab parties and the Arab officials. And the other, which worries me even more, was the low percentage of vote among the Arab public in Israel," Rivlin wrote in a tweet.

"This is the home of all of us, and we all – each and every one of us, in every group and community – have an equal part, an equal place, and equal responsibility. You are welcome here. Your home is my home,” Rivlin said.

The past general election showed an exceptionally low voter turnout among the Arab populace amid reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party spent hundreds of thousands of shekels to provide its observers in polling stations in Arab communities with 1,200 hidden cameras.