(JTA) — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, speaking in New York to the African-American community, compared the establishment of Israel to the civil rights movement.
Making his first visit to the United States as Israeli president, Rivlin in his address Sunday at the Christian Cultural Center also recalled the friendship of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. He said the proximity of Martin Luther King Jr. Day last week and International Holocaust Remembrance Day this week is “no coincidence.”
“I also have a dream, that we will once more hear God knocking on the door,” Rivlin said, making reference to King’s famous Washington speech in 1963. “I dream, and believe, that Jerusalem, which is a microcosm of the whole world, will serve as an example of coexistence between different religions and communities. Jews and Arabs are not doomed to live together, we are destined to live together.”
Rivlin also met with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on the trip. He will not be meeting with President Barack Obama, citing conflicting schedules.