Israeli President Reuven Rivlin used the stage at a ceremony honoring David Ben-Gurion in order to urge the government to renew the alliance with the Jewish American community “before it’s too late.” Rivlin’s call comes just a few hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely’s attack on Jewish Americans.

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During a state memorial ceremony honoring Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, President Reuven Rivlin responded to Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely’s attack on Jewish Americans and called on the government to renew its alliance with the Jewish community in the US. “I saw the Jewish Diaspora’s great love for Israel,” he said during his speech. “[But] I also saw a deep concern and pain over the weakening bridges that connect Israel and the Jewish Diaspora.”

Rivlin mentioned the long-standing ties between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora. “Ben-Gurion adhered to his decision to compromise in order to establish and maintain the connection between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora,” he explained. “He signed a historic agreement with the leaders of the Jewish American leaders- the only agreement between a state and the representatives of a nation. In this agreement, the nature of the connection and distance between the two largest Jewish communities of our times- that of Israel and that of the United States- was determined.”

Rivlin then stated the main points of the agreement, namely that Israel represents and speaks only in the name of its citizens; the Jewish people who live in the U.S. are American citizens who are expected to give their loyalty to the American government; Israel does not expect Jewish Americans to immigrate to Israel; and neither side interferes with the political decisions made by the other.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

“For almost 70 years, this was the agreement the basis of the understandings between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora,” he added. “The agreement was a bridge on which solid and strong relations were built between the State of Israel and the largest Jewish community in the diaspora. Honored guests, it may very well be that the Ben-Gurion-Blaustein Agreement is no longer standing due to the accumulated tension.”

Earlier today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clarified in a statement that Hotovely’s remarks “do not reflect the State of Israel’s position.” In an interview with i24, Hotovely said that American Jews are “not even interested in going to the Kotel.”