Israel’s president offers message of unity following visits to victims of Gaza rockets


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Here’s an exchange between Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and the son of an Arab-Israeli man who was killed over the weekend by a Hamas bomb.

“You don’t know what it means to me that you came here,” the son of Ziad Alhamada reportedly told Rivlin when the president visited his home.

“Why wouldn’t I come?” Rivlin replied. “Aren’t you an Israeli citizen?”

Alhamada, 49, was among four Israelis killed over the weekend when Hamas launched nearly 700 rockets at Israel; many were injured. He died when a rocket hit the factory where he worked in Ashkelon.

Rivlin also visited the families of the others killed: Pinchas Menachem Prezuazman, a 21-year-old American Israeli; Moshe Agadi, a 58-year-old father of four who was hit with shrapnel to his chest and stomach in the yard of his Ashkelon home; and 67-year-old Moshe Feder, who was hit by a missile while driving.

As of Monday, 25 Palestinians were reported dead in by the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry.

In a message of unity, Rivlin said he does “everything I can to visit all Israelis who are in such terrible grief from terrorist attacks.”

“We, the tribes of Israel, are together in good times and bad, in hope and in difficulty, regardless of which tribe we are from,” he said. “Ultra-Orthodox, secular, religious and traditional, Jews and Arabs – terror strikes us all without discrimination and without mercy and we will never surrender to it.”

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