In a meeting with a delegation of World Jewish Congress (WJC) leaders Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed that, despite the perception that Israel is isolated in the international community, the country has expanded relations with countries in the Arab world.
“There is a lot of talk about Israel’s isolation. I beg to differ,” Netanyahu was quoted in a press release as saying at the meeting. The Israeli Prime Minister said the Middle East dilemma boils down to a conflict between medievalism and modernity, while the Palestinian-Israeli conflict stems from the Palestinians refusal to recognize a Jewish state and indoctrination of hatred.
“I am very hopeful for Israel’s future,” Netanyahu told the WJC delegation. “You have always been there for us.”
The WJC Executive members, led by WJC President Ronald S, Lauder, also met with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin Monday, who touched on three major challenges facing Israel and the Jewish world as a whole.
“The younger generation does not remember a world without Israel – some perhaps even take Israel for granted,” Rivlin said. “Still, Jewish students today face a day to day struggle on campus and on the internet against Israel. They are called on to stand up for Israel for being Jewish, and it is not easy. This challenge is not just for them, this challenge is not just for you, it is a challenge for us in the State of Israel and in the Diaspora.”
Bridging the cultural divide between different groups in Israel is a key priority, Rivlin said, adding that Israeli society “is made up of four different communities; secular, ultra-Orthodox, National Religious, and Arab. Four tribes who live in different cities, and read different newspapers. Four tribes who learn in different schools, in different education systems, with different identities, different dreams, and different hopes.”
Rivlin said overcoming this divide is crucial, as it “goes to the very heart of our lives here, to the very heart of Zionism, and to the very heart of the existence and survival of the State of Israel. As leaders of the Jewish communities around the world you are all important partners in this mission and I hope we will find the way to work together.”