President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin on Wednesday joined a prayer service marking the Sigd holiday of the Ethiopian-Israeli community at the Sherover Promenade in Armon Hanatziv, Jerusalem. The president shook hands warmly with the leaders of the community and thanks them for inviting him to open the special ceremony.
“’Jeena, Jeena, Ierusalem’ – ‘Longing, Longing for Jerusalem’ – this is what we sing to Jerusalem in the prayers of the festival,” the president said. “And those prayers, those ancient, wonderful prayers that you kept hold of and held dear to you and learned by heart and taught your children and passed down the generations, they are prayers of wonder and expectation all the way to Jerusalem.”
“You brought a spirit of heroism and nobility that was sorely tested on the difficult journey you undertook, and over the long years of expectation and yearning. And you brought with you an ancient and passionate love for Zion, a love without bounds,” the president said.
Referring to the incident at the Barkan winery, where a Haredi kashrut supervision group demanded the ouster of Ethiopian employees, casting doubts on their Jewish identity, the president said, “This is not what we were longing for. Citizens of Israel will not be party to discrimination on the basis of skin color. We are brothers and sisters, and anyone who tries to undermine that has no place among the tribes of Israel.”
“We have much work ahead of us, but how good it is to know that we have returned home. When we are here together, sharing Israeli Hope and a single path that leads to Jerusalem. Happy Sigd!,” the president concluded.