President Reuven Rivlin and Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney (Twitter/Irish Embassy Israel) (Twitter/Irish Embassy Israel)
Rivlin Coveney

In a meeting with the Irish foreign minister, Rivlin stressed the importance of recognizing the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.

President Reuven Rivlin met on Wednesday at his residence in Jerusalem with senior Irish diplomat Simon Coveney, whose visit to Israel was his first outside Europe as Ireland’s foreign minister. They discussed the relationship between the two countries, but the diplomatic process with the Palestinians, regarding which the Irish are notoriously biased in favor of the Palestinians, was the focus of their meeting.

Rivlin noted the Palestinians’ “tragic rejection” of Israel as a Jewish state, or as a state at all, and stressed the importance of recognizing the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.

Ridiculing a string of resolutions endorsed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that deny Judaism’s connection to its holiest sites, and specifically that Israel has no connections to Jerusalem, Rivlin said that “to suggest the Jewish people have no connection to Jerusalem, is to suggest the Irish people have no connection with Dublin or Guinness!”

Referring to the ties between Israel and Ireland, Rivlin noted that “the relationship between Israel and Ireland is very important, in spite of differences of opinion which we have from time to time.”

While there is an impression in Israel “that Ireland takes a different position to Israel, can I say that in essence though, we are yearning for the same thing that I think the vast majority of Israelis are, which is a peaceful future,” Coveney stated.

“The reason that Irish people are so interested in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship and conflict is because we have had a violent past ourselves, and we see this as one of the great conflicts and divisions in the world. That is why the majority of Irish peacekeeping soldiers are in this part of the world. We work closely with Israel in relation to maintaining a good and professional relationship in that regard,” he stressed.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu chided Coveney for his country’s consistent support for the Palestinians against Israel.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel