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Israeli President Rivlin: Our ties are based on both our shared history, shared future

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The "deep" ties between Romania and Israel are based on both our shared history, as well as on the "shared future" of the two countries, the president of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, said on Tuesday, during a joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart, Klaus Iohannis, at the Cotroceni Palace.

It was very important to visit Romania before my presidential term expires. Israel and Romania are undoubtedly friends, strategic friends, allies and friends. Our deep ties are based on both our shared history, as well as our shared future. The Jewish community in Romania had great contributions to Jewish culture, to the development of Romania's economy and the establishment and development of the State of Israel, the Israeli president said, according to the official translation.

He highlighted that "the fact that Romania is the only country from the communist block who never cut ties with Israel reflects the solid bond between our countries".

Reuven Rivlin also talked about the importance of the fact that Romania took responsibility for its past.

We, of course, do not forget history - in the past, violent anti-Semitism, pogroms, killings, especially during the time of the Holocaust. But, more importantly is that the Romanian leadership made sure that history will not be forgotten and that Romania is obligated to fight anti-Semitism without compromise. We appreciate all measures taken by Romania in order to transform the promise of "never again" into existence. This also includes the decision of building a Jewish history and Holocaust museum in Romania, Reuven Rivlin pointed out.

In this sense, he highlighted the "key-role" president Iohannis has had in adopting the definition of anti-Semitism.

The president also talked about the context of security in the Middle East.
As you well know, Israel is facing continuous threats from Iran and its trustees and collaborators from Gaza and Lebanon, Hezbollah. Israel not only has the right, but also the duty of protecting its citizens from these terrorist organizations and terrorist regimes which are actually calling for our extermination, Rivlin said.

President Rivlin also reminded of the tragic accident of 2010, when a helicopter crashed in the Bucegi Mountains during an exercise, and 7 soldiers - 6 Israeli and one Romanian - died.

We will forever remember the sacrifice of those who perished in the helicopter crash of 2010, our most beloved sons, among whom Captain Stefan Claudiu Dragnea. Their memory and families that we embrace will forever be honored, the president of Israel said.

The 7 victims will be commemorated on Thursday, in Simon locality of the Brasov county, where a religious and military ceremony will take place.

11 years ago, on July 26, an Israeli transport helicopter, CH-53 Sikorsky of the Israeli Air Force (IAF), with 6 Israeli and 1 Romanian military onboard, crashed in the Bucegi Mountains, in the Fundata-Zarnesti area. The airship was taking part in the joint Romanian-Israeli air exercise BLUE SKY 2010, which took place at the Boboc airfield.

 

În turn, Romania's President Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday at a joint news conference with visiting Israeli President Reuven Rivlin that there are privileged ties between Romania and Israel of a strategic nature. .

"Between Romania and the State of Israel, there are privileged ties of a strategic nature, based on solid, historical, cultural and human bonds. An essential contribution to the creation of this special relationship has been brought by the two communities, to whom I send my regards on this occasion. We are indebted to the Romanian-born community of Israel for the high esteem that Romania enjoys in Israel in most diverse areas, technical, medical, artistic, sports, to name just a few," Iohannis said at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.

He also mentioned Romania's continuous efforts to take responsibility for its past.

"Romania is a model regarding initiatives for memory preservation and combating anti-Semitism, unfortunately still a highly topical subject," he said.

Furthermore, the Romanian president said that he informed his counterpart that, recently, the Government of Romania adopted the first National Strategy for the prevention and combating of anti-Semitism, xenophobia, radicalization, and hate speech.

"In the current context, it's all the more important for all the countries to develop and to use specific instruments and mechanisms, meant to combat efficiently these phenomena that have a negative impact on our societies and which have amplified, unfortunately, on the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic," the Romanian head of state also stated.

He made reference to the joint session of the two countries' governments, "which we desire organized this year." In this context, he referenced the works of the Economic Forum which will start on Wednesday, and which "will be attended by a large number of Israeli and Romanian companies from various domains of mutual interest."

 

On the other hand, Iohannis said that  Romania considers that both the Israelis and the Palestinians have the right to live in peace and security and militates, together with its main international partners, to advance the two-state solution, within the parameters set by international law.

"Last but not least, in view of the recent violence to which Israeli and Palestinian victims have fallen victim and which has saddened us all, we have reiterated our condolences for the loss of lives and expressed the hope that the root causes of the conflict will be addressed, so that a lasting peace can be reached in the region," pointed out the Romanian head of state at the Cotroceni presidential Palace.

The Romanian president asserted that in talks with his Israeli counterpart he stressed "the need to implement confidence-building measures, reiterating the importance of resuming direct talks leading to a two-state solution."

"In this context, I expressed appreciation for the resumption of the work of the Middle East Quartet and welcomed the involvement of the United States, alongside the European Union and the Arab states in the region, in creating a favorable framework for the resumption of the peace process," Iohannis added.

Reuven Rivlin is on a state visit to Romania, at the invitation of President Iohannis. On Tuesday evening, the Israeli president will meet with Prime Minister Florin Citu at Victoria Palace of Government.

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