President Rivlin meets with President Ivanić of Bosnia & Herzogovina
(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
President Reuven Rivlin this morning (Monday) held a working meeting at his residence in Jerusalem, with President of Bosnia and Herzegovina Dr. Mladen Ivanić, marking the first official visit of a President of Bosnia & Herzegovina to Israel. President Ivanić had visited Israel during his time as Foreign Minister.
President Rivlin greeted the President and spoke of the importance of his visit. “This is the first visit of a President of Bosnia & Herzegovina, an important and welcome moment. We welcome you on our arrival, and appreciate he relations between our states.”
He continued, “Like us, you are a multicultural state. In Israel, Christians, Jews, and Muslims are living together and it is our duty to realize that we can live together and it is possible despite the obstacles that we face from time to time.” He added, “Knowing the obstacles and knowing the challenges, we also know the opportunities.”
The President went on to stress, “We have no war with Islam, please tell your people, that in Israel there is no religious war. In our meeting we will talk about the challenges that all of the world is facing now; the threat of ISIS, extremists, fundamentalism. Your visit is a significant and important visit for us and we hope to deepen our existing cooperation. We are very proud of what we have achieved until now, and know that there is so much more we can achieve through our cooperation.”
President Ivanić thanked the President, and recalled together with him his prior visit to Israel. He said, “Bosnia and Herzegovina is a very specific country - twenty years ago there was a very real war, with 100,000 citizens killed, and millions displaced, and twenty years after we are more or less a normal country – maybe not perfect – but we can live peacefully. In comparison around the world, it is difficult to find other examples of where the international community was so successful. We believe that we have to share this experience with countries who are similar to us or share the same problems. We live in a multi-ethnic society and we have had to learn to live in that society which is not easy in the modern world with many kinds of extremism.”
On the topic of cooperation with Israel he said, “It would be very important for us to continue our cooperation, for a lot of reasons, especially to share your experience, how to develop the economy. How to have this multi-ethnic approach and because of that I want to deepen even more the relationship between Bosnia and Israel.”
The two went on to speak about ways to strengthen the ties between the two countries, as well as developments in the region, including the danger posed by Iran to the whole region.
At the end of the meeting, President Ivanić presented President Rivlin with a copy of the “Sarajevo Hagadah”, one of the oldest copies of the text used by Jewish people on Seder night. The original copy survived unscathed through the Holocaust and the civil war in the country.