Photo Credit: Mark Neiman, GPO
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (l) and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. March 17, 2016.

Israel’s President Ruvy Rivlin continued his official visit to Moscow on Thursday, March 17, by meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

The two spoke about strengthening bilateral ties, as Rivlin visited different parts of the Jewish community and with the Russian Orthodox Patriarch, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia.


After discussing the situation in the Middle East and in Russia the previous day with President Vladimir Putin, Thursday’s visit with Medvedev focused more on economic issues and bilateral cooperation.

President Rivlin thanked the Prime Minister and said, “I am very happy to be here today to speak about our bilateral relations with the Russian people, and with Russia as an important country in a range of issues. When such a large percentage of the citizens of our state are Russian speakers, the ties between us have increased and become unbreakable.”

Amont the topics addressed by the two politicians were agriculture, exports of agricultural products and free trade.

The Russian Prime Minister expressed his strong desire to advance cooperation in research, especially in the fields of hi-tech, space exploration, energy, and medical technology. The President and the Prime Minister agreed that the issues raised would continue to be addressed in further discussions between the relevant ministers, and the President said he hoped to welcome the Prime Minister to Israel in the near future.

Earlier, the President visited the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center which is dedicated to the history of Jews in Russia until the break up of the Soviet Union, and which held a collection that belonged to the Schneerson Chabad Rabbis. As part of the museum’s display, which features many aspects of Judaism, a Torah scroll was placed, open at the “Ha’azinu” weekly Torah portion, which is the President’s Bar Mitzvah portion.

Following the museum visit, the President went on to meet with members of the Jewish community in Moscow. Meeting participants included community leaders led by Chief Rabbi Shayevich, rabbis and other leaders of the Jewish institutions.

President Rivlin said, “Most Jews in Russia do not associate themselves with their Jewish identity, and this is a huge loss. Out of concern for the future of the Jewish people, we must think how to expand the circle of Jews who identify with Judaism. I am pleased that there are Jews who immigrate to Israel and strengthened the State of Israel, and yet I respect and admire those who choose to live here, and sustain Jewish life here. It is important that former residents of Israel who live all over Russia will maintain continuous and close contact with the Jewish community and the State Israel.”

When the President was asked about the situation in Israel and the actions taken to eradicate terrorism, the President spoke about the problem of incitement, “Mahmoud Abbas knows full well that if he allows incitement against us, it can lead to incitement against him.”

The President ended the meeting and stressed that “Am Israel Chai (“the people of Israel live”) – this is a fact, not an empty phrase.”

The President then went on to meet with Russian Orthodox Patriarch, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia. The Patriarch warmly welcomed the President and the two spoke at length. In particular the Patriarch spoke of his deep concern for the plight of the Christian community in the Middle East. The President said, “I share with you a deep concern for the well being of your community. The Christian community in the Middle East has suffered from terrible persecution and we are proud that Israel has been a safe home for the community, and Christian pilgrims.”

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