Tuesday, November 7, 2017

President and First Lady Rivlin attend State Dinner on visit to Spain


Image from article, with caption: President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin with His Majesty King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain
(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

[Israel's] President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin were this evening (Monday, 6 November 2017), guests of honor at a State Dinner at the Royal Palace in Madrid, guests of His Majesty King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain. At the beginning of the evening both the King and the President delivered opening addresses. ...

The King began his address by wishing the President and his delegation ‘welcome’ in Hebrew. He went on to say, “The tradition that binds us to each other is greater than us in its depth and meaning. This is the legacy of the Jews of Spain, which represents the Golden Age of Jewish culture, a culture that has been preserved for hundreds of years in the language and customs of so many Sephardic Jews throughout the world. Our democratic Spain, founded on a heritage of cultural diversity, is today returning to its historical ties with the Jewish people. In this regard, we will never forget the festive ceremony at the Royal Palace in which we stand today, two years ago, on the occasion of the approval of the law granting Spanish citizenship to Jews of Spanish origin, and the renewed historical meeting that resulted from it. As I said then, ‘how I missed you’, the Jewish-Spanish people, the Jewish people our friends.

“We know, Mr. President, that you want to strengthen the wonderful nation of Israel, with this pluralistic identity, which you are embodying in an exemplary and admirable way. In this regard, I want to welcome especially the important rabbis who are with you in your delegation today, because their presence provides affirmation of our values and attests to the common aspiration of all people to live together, and to humanity. With this understanding, I proudly stress the position of Spain at the forefront of the fight against anti-Semitism, which includes important public diplomacy initiatives such as the Spain-Israel Center, important political achievements such as ‘Holocaust Remembrance and the Prevention of Crimes against Humanity Day’ marked annually, and similarly, the emphasis of education about Jewish issues, and legislative achievements such as the legal definition of hate crime. ...

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