President Reuven Rivlin made a surprise visit Thursday to a high school in Jerusalem that applied for the Presidential Award for Education Partnership. Just one day after the argument erupted over banning Palestinians from riding on Israeli buses, Rivlin spoke to the students about equality and learning to live together.
"In our country, the 'Other' is important to me event if he isn't Jewish," said Rivlin. "We live in a gallery of cultures as citizens of the same nation that requires all of us to listen to one another. Things will be sorted out quicker if we strengthen our connection as you've done at this school."
Rivlin also told the students, "We live in one nation, not because we are forced to be together, but because we were meant to be together. We are a Jewish and a Democratic country and 20% of our people are Arabs and we must learn to live together. First and foremost we must listen to one another, try to understand the 'Other', even if we don't agree with one another. We'll learn, as you've shown, that we are very similar."
The President also suggested that the school organize visits and soccer games with Arab schools in Jerusalem, saying that such meetings would help form a bridge for the students to know and learn from their fellow man.
"It's always good to talk with a person who thinks, even if I don't agree with him," concluded Rivlin. "We need to praise your efforts to learn about the subject in depth. We are all minorities and we all need to remember that we can't ignore our problems with the though that they'll just go away."