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December 11, 2015 1:10 pm

Rivlin’s Cringe-Worthy White House Visit

avatar by Ruthie Blum

U.S. President Barack Obama looks on as Israeli President Reuven Rivlin lights the Hanukkah menorah at the White House on Wednesday. Photo: Reuven Rivlin via Twitter.

U.S. President Barack Obama looks on as Israeli President Reuven Rivlin lights the Hanukkah menorah at the White House on Wednesday. Photo: Reuven Rivlin via Twitter.

Ahead of his visit to the White House on Wednesday, President Reuven Rivlin published an op-ed in The Washington Post titled, “What Israel should do to lay the groundwork for peace.”

As its title suggests, the piece is a blueprint for measures Rivlin thinks the Jewish state should take to make life better for all the people involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even in the absence of a “current viable solution.”

Referring to this as the “tragedy that envelops us all” — rather than a perpetual war waged by the Palestinian Authority against the Jewish state — Rivlin writes that though “there is no diplomatic process underway, and no indication of imminent negotiations,” Israel is “duty-bound to recognize where and how we can take effective action to improve the prospect that we will be able to live together.”

He fails to point out that every time we Israelis do this, we have to spend our days and nights trying to “take effective action” to stay alive, with all the missiles, bombs, guns, knives, Molotov cocktails and rocks being flung our way.

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But this doesn’t matter, of course, because Rivlin’s real aim was to “lay the groundwork for peace” with U.S. President Barack Obama. Indeed, our state’s figurehead was determined to get a pat on the head by the dangerous lame duck in Washington with enough remaining power to continue to wreak havoc on the world through the very same attitude expressed in Rivlin’s article.

And it worked, as praise from the Hebrew press indicates.

Yes, the anti-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu media in Israel stressed that Rivlin was greeted with more warmth from Obama than Netanyahu ever received. The two presidents even lit Hanukkah candles together.

Well, that particular bonding moment gave Rivlin the perfect opportunity to engage in cringeworthy behavior. He actually likened Obama to the “shamash” in the menorah, the “leader with which you light the other candles. You have been lighting the candles for seven years to show your people and the world the right way — we’re sure that the eighth candle you will light next year will show the world how to walk in light.”

If Rivlin was hinting at the light from Islamist rocket-launches and nuclear fission, he might have been on to something. But, of course, he was not. Their nauseating display was designed to reiterate that Muslims are peace-loving victims of a few rotten apples and to perpetuate the myth that financial strain is behind terrorism.

Rivlin actually says this in his piece: “It is worth understanding that the Israeli right has long ignored the eastern part of [Jerusalem] for reasons of internal political differences, while the left has equally neglected investing in the need for infrastructure to serve the 300,000 Palestinians of the city as part of an ideology of political separation from the Palestinians. … Does anyone think that dealing with the sewage, roads, schools and medical centers of eastern Jerusalem can or should wait until the end of the conflict? Is there anyone who thinks the consequences of these economic disparities in the city will stop at genuine or fictitious political borders?”

Obama couldn’t have agreed more.

The official White House “readout” about Rivlin’s visit said, “The leaders discussed their mutual concern about the ongoing violence in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israel, and the importance of Israeli and Palestinian leaders taking steps to reduce violence and restore calm through both action and rhetoric.”

It is bad enough that the president of the United States holds Israel responsible for the daily attempted slaughter of — and genocidal pronouncements against — Jews by Palestinian perpetrators. But for the Israeli president to accept and spread this vile fallacy is appalling beyond belief. It is certainly a far cry from the Hanukkah miracle we were supposed to be celebrating.

Ruthie Blum is the web editor of The Algemeiner ( This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.

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