President Reuven Rivlin hosted the traditional, annual reception for leaders of Israel’s Christian community leaders on Tuesday to mark the civil New Year.

The President welcomed nine heads of various churches in Israel and senior members of the community and said:

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“Over the past months, we have been greatly concerned, by the ongoing religious persecution and restrictions on freedom of worship for minorities in the Middle East. Because of their faith hundreds of thousands are being exiled, forcibly converted, attacked, and brutally murdered.

“This is a war against extremism, a war being waged against those who want to spread a message of freedom of worship and coexistence, by those who carry the flag of destruction and hatred.

“This is a cause of great worry and pain for all us. We share the Psalms of King David, the words of the Prophets, and a love for Jerusalem, and the Holy Land. As we know, we are all created in the image of God. As the prophet Malachi wrote, ‘Do we not, all have one Father? Did not one God create us?’ We will continue to live together, and build bridges of peace, here, in the land of our fathers.

“May we all, Christians, Muslims, Jews, children of Abraham, together with all those of different faiths, see the fulfillment of the vision of the prophet Isaiah, that ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, and no longer learn war.’ Let 2015 be a year of partnership and friendship. Let it be a year of understanding and mutual respect. I wish you all a peaceful and happy New Year.”

 

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