President Reuven Rivlin this morning (Wednesday) hosted at his residence, a delegation, arranged by AIPAC, of Republican members of the United States Congress, led by House Majority Leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
President Rivlin began by welcoming the delegation to Israel, and said, "We stand together in a partnership, established on the strong foundations of common values, and a shared vision, deeply rooted in democracy, the values of liberalism, and human rights for each and every citizen. These are not just slogans. The shared values of democracy and equality play a vital part in daily life. For us in Israel we strive, each and every day, to achieve our goal of a state - where the historic traditions and values of the Jewish people, and the individual rights of each and every citizen of this land, are protected and safeguarded."
The President went on to speak of the concern surrounding the deal with Iran. He said, "Along with Israelis on all sides of the political spectrum, I am deeply concerned about the recent nuclear deal signed with Iran. The current Iranian regime act with a dangerous combination of aggressiveness, fundamentalism, and state sponsored terrorism, threatening - even without nuclear weapons - freedom and democracy in this region and around the world. We fear that this agreement is a first step in the legitimization of Iran's policies and strategies, and only acts to further destabilize a chaotic region."
The President continued, "However, this deal alone does not leave Israel defenseless. As a strong, democratic country in the region, Israel can and will do all that is necessary to defend itself. In this crucial time, we know that Israel does not stand alone. Our allies - and specifically the US - are a strategic cornerstone for us. The US–Israel relationship has known ups and downs. We must not be alarmed by disagreements when they arise. Whatever Congress decides, it will be your decision as representatives of the American people. We, as your allies and partners, must make sure that whatever the result of this vote, our strategic alliance stands and grows even stronger."
At the head of the delegation, Rep. Kevin McCarthy introduced the delegation and thanked the President for his warm welcome. He said, "The uniqueness of the bond between us is because of our shared values of freedom, democracy, liberty, human rights, and protecting the voice of those with whom we may disagree. The relationship between our countries is strong and firm, and nobody should doubt that."