WATCH: Rivlin calls for Jewish unity ahead of Rosh Hashanah
Delivering recorded remarks as Jews around the world prepare to celebrate the new year, president says that while sentiments of friendship are not always clear and while divisions are often rife, Jews should 'reflect on what we share', face the challenges ahead 'together' and as 'friends.'
President Reuven Rivlin called on Saturday for unity as he urged Jews to “reflect on what we share” in his Rosh Hashanah message.
Speaking from Jerusalem, the president began by acknowledging that “there are times when we do not feel like ‘friends’” but sought to draw attention to the similarity between the Hebrew word for "friend" and for "connection."
"The bonds that hold us together stretch across the world today and deep into our shared history. I know we are at a time when some see the things that divide us more clearly than those that unite us,” Rivlin said in a video message recorded in Jerusalem.
Adding that “it can be hard to see what we have in common” and accepting the disagreements that divide opinion both in and outside Israel, Rivlin called on his listeners to use the Jewish new year to focus more on what unites the Jewish people than that which divides them.
“So, as we approach this Rosh Hashanah, let us reflect on what we share, on the links that bind us together. We are one people, with a shared history and a shared future. We share a commitment to the future of the Jewish people, despite our differences. We share a belief in a better world, and a commitment to bring it about," the president said.
President Rivlin also highlighted the rise in anti-Semitism around the world, reminding Jews that they, “together” and as “friends” must face it down, along with racism and hatred around the world.
“Wherever we choose to live, we must be able to feel proud of being Jewish, and safe to identify as Jewish in whatever way we choose," Rivlin continued.
The president also praised what he described as Israel’s ability to bridge differences without regard for race, religion, creed or politics.
"Here in Israel, our society brings together different communities: religious and secular, Jewish and Arab, old and young, left and right. We share this land that we love,” he said as he neared the conclusion of his 3-minute remarks.
“The bonds between us, friends, are our best hope for a bright future. So let us hope that this year we will feel closer to each other, more like friends," Rivlin said.
"From the heart of the Jewish world and the capital of the State of Israel, I wish you and your families—Shana Tova uMetukah (Good and sweet new year), and may we all be blessed with many happy and sweet years ahead."