Photo Credit: Courtesy Beit Hanasi
President Rivlin and Jewish Agency chairman Boujie Herzog bump elbows, March 18, 2020

President Reuven on Wednesday met with the chairman of the Jewish Agency, Isaac (Boujie) Herzog, and was updated on the state of affairs in Jewish communities around the world as they deal with the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, the president sent a video messages to the global Jewish community, saying, “The whole world is, right now, in a difficult time of fear and confusion because of the corona crisis which has turned all our lives upside down and which has claimed lives. Now is the time when every country is calling out to its citizens to deal with the dangers together. But at this difficult time, we here in Israel think of another ‘together’ that we are part of, and look to you, our brothers and sisters of the global Jewish community. Your welfare and ours are inextricably linked.”


The president added, “With every update on the spread of the virus that we hear from around the world, we also think of you, our family abroad and pray you are staying strong, united, healthy and well. The People of Israel, over the years, has managed to overcome danger and crisis and to survive, sometimes against all odds, thanks to the value we place on community and mutual responsibility which are embedded in our Jewish tradition. These are times when we must use this tradition and the values we were given to take care of ourselves while following the instructions, and to take care of others, particularly the elderly who live amongst us – in our buildings, communities and neighborhoods – those at highest risk not just of getting sick, but of finding themselves isolated and without supplies.”

“Our sense of mutual obligation is the fundamental value that has protected us. This is the Jewish spirit, our spirit, and if we maintain it, it will take care of us. My dear ones, at this difficult time, when the special excitement of preparations for the Pesach holiday gives way to fear and anxiety, we, the people that dwells in Zion embrace you and send our prayers for your welfare and your good health. He who makes peace in the highest, may he bring peace to us and to all Israel and to all peoples of the world. God bless you and keep you healthy. Be strong and of good courage,” the president said.

Chairman Herzog replied: “Following the excellent film the president sent out which was distributed by the Jewish Agency and its partners to all the Jewish communities around the world, I spoke with the president this morning to update him on the enormous challenges the Jewish Agency is facing around the world in dealing with the coronavirus. Among other things, we are aiding and supporting communities in crisis, particularly the Italian Jewish community, continued immigration and new immigrants going into isolation, dealing with Jewish students from overseas who are in Israel on various programs, lone soldiers, our hundreds of emissaries overseas and much more. The president’s film to the Jewish communities made a huge impression and we agreed on additional initiatives to strengthen the spirit of the Jewish people all around the world at this time.”

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