President Rivlin hosts state dinner in honor of President Kiska of Slovakia
(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
President Reuven & First Lady Nechama Rivlin this evening (Wednesday) hosted a state dinner at their residence in Jerusalem, in honor of the visit of President of Slovakia H.E. Andrej Kiska. At the beginning of the evening, both Presidents delivered brief toasts.
President Rivlin welcomed his guests and said, “Israel needed to overcome its relative lack of natural resources, to overcome its small size, and many geo-political challenges. On the other hand, we enjoy a great intellectual tradition and superb human capital. Investing in innovation was the most logical solution. Today, Israel is a leading actor in high-tech, irrigation, agriculture technologies and much more. And we do not believe in isolation, and zero-sum competition. We wish to share our knowledge and achievements with friends. We believe in international cooperation, we believe in trade that brings nations closer. We believe that friendships are strongest, when interests and values go hand in hand. For all of these reasons, we look forward to making Israel-Slovakia relations even stronger, closer, and wider, than they are right now.”
President Rivlin turned to President Kiska and said, “You have shown exceptional leadership regarding the Holocaust and its remembrance. You have also been a model, in publicly confronting neo-Nazi and fascist political forces in Slovakia. We will never forget this.”
President Kiska expressed his gratitude for the President’s warm words and emotionally said, “When I was 27 years old I left for the United States to try to emigrate there. My wife stayed behind with the children, and the truth is I didn't get a job as an engineer, I did get a job in a gas station, and the owner of the gas station was a Ukrainian Jew. I saw how all the Jewish community was united. I saw this unique value of trying to be together to help, and when I came home to Slovakia, I was even trying to think "why not become a Jew?" I really admired that unity, and it had a big impression on my life. Visiting here I can see this unity, and the biggest inspiration I can see here in your country is that you speak about problems, have no problem to speak about problems, you speak and try to find solutions, but what is most important, you are looking for results, you want to see results.”
He went on to say, “The question is how to make these dreams a reality. How can we change our world, what can we do when we see that the world is becoming tougher, shaking with the growing of extremism? I think most important thing, together with vision and our dreams, and is to stand behind our values.”
President Kiska concluded by reiterating his invitation for President Rivlin to visit his country to “speak together about the values, to speak together about the values, for the young people, for both our countries.”