Rivlin Cuts Short N.Y. Visit After Hezbollah Attack


Reuven Rivlin, who cut short his first visit to New York City as president of Israel this week after the northern part of the country came under rocket fire from Hezbollah terrorists in southern Lebanon, met with a variety of political and ethnic leaders during his four days here.

Rivlin’s itinerary included meetings with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., former President Bill Clinton, and members of a largely African-American Christian congregation in Brooklyn. His planned meetings Thursday with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and leaders of New York City’s Jewish community, at the Manhattan headquarters of UJA-Federation, were cancelled when Rivlin returned to Israel on Wednesday night following the Hezbollah attack that took the lives of two Israeli soldiers and injured seven others.

Rivlin, a former Knesset speaker who became president in July, also laid a wreath at the 9/11 memorial in Lower Manhattan.

During his visit to the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, he was introduced by Rev. A. R. Bernard as a fighter for civil rights. “Only a nation that has survived the Holocaust will know the importance of friends to move forward,” Rev. Bernard said.

Rivlin cited the creation of Israel, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the American civil rights movement and other epic events that took place during his lifetime. “They all carry the banner of ‘Let my people go!” he said.

At the 9/11 memorial, on the site of the destroyed World Trade Center, Rivlin said. “Now, we stand in the shadow of the valley of death.

“Terrorism is not an Israeli or American problem,” the president said. “We stand here, united as those who choose life, freedom and equality, and understand the horror of what occurred here, and the enormity of the task before us. We will continue to fight terror. We will continue to fight fundamentalism. This is an obligation for the whole world.”

In remarks Wednesday at the UN General Assembly, during a ceremony for the International Day of Commemoration of Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, Rivlin called on “all the nations united, countries of the free world, [to] form a united front” against terrorism.

“We have the duty, here, in this Assembly, to act together as a determined and unified international community,” he said. “We must remain silent no longer, we must rise up and take action."