President Rivlin meets with the Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel
(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
President Reuven Rivlin met today (Monday) at his residence with Prime Minister of Belgium, Charles Michel, who was making an official visit to Israel. The President welcomed the Prime Minister on his arrival and began by speaking about the importance of Belgium’s policies toward anti-Semitism, and the adoption of the wider definition of the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) which included condemnation of anti-Israel sentiment, and attempts to deny Israel’s right to exist. He said, “I want to thank the Prime Minister for dedicating his time to the subject of defining anti-Semitism – an issue we discussed in my visit to Belgium. His consideration brought on the decision and we are thankful; Holocaust remembrance is not exclusive to the Jewish people, ‘Never Again’ is a lesson for the entire world.”
The President went on to address the threat of global terrorism and stated, “ISIS has become a phenomenon, and does not only drive random events. We are duty-bound to fight global terrorism together. In our last meeting you said that an event occurring in one part of the world will affect the rest of the world. ISIS graduates are flooding Europe, there are hundreds of them in Belgium, and we also must bear the burden of security – cooperating with Europe and many other countries to locate any potential terrorists. Our proficiency and familiarity with the matter are a product of our constant need for security; we are available to share our knowledge with the free world, just as you are.
“We appreciate your participation in UNIFIL and UNDOF, and your efforts to achieve peace in the world,” the President continued. He went on to stress the close relationship between the two countries in the last several years, and noted, “In the recent years during your tenure, the relationship between Israel and Belgium has evolved in the business sector, and in G2G meetings. Your visit is very important to us and we welcome you.”
Prime Minister Michel thanked the President for his warm welcome and said, “Together with me is a wide delegation of parliament members and opposition members. Their very presence here is proof of the importance we see in the bilateral relations between Israel and Belgium. I see with great pleasure the efforts to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.”
He added, “Like you, we are also convinced that the security and stability issues are of the utmost importance. Several weeks ago the Belgian Interior Minister visited Israel to discuss these issues. We are convinced that the fight for security is a fight to strengthen freedom and democracy. In Europe we are dealing with the threat of terrorism and fully committed to fight it. We intend to strengthen the relationship between our security services. We believe that peace and stability are essential for the development of democracy. Cooperation is the key to reach a world ruled by peace.”
The Prime Minister added: “The economic development is also important and significant and we are pleased to the see the progress in cooperation in trade between the two states. We are interested in learning what is done in the field of start-ups and I look forward to our extended conversation on the matter.”
In conclusion, the President asked to convey his greetings and appreciation to the King of Belgium, with whom he met during his visit in June, 2016. The two continued went on to hold an extended meeting to discuss the challenges and events of the Middle East in recent years, as well as the deepening of the countries’ relationship in the technological sector.