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President of Israel Meets with Hispanic Community Leaders

November 16, 2017

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Hispanic community leaders in fields ranging from education to government met for a roundtable discussion with the President of Israel Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at the City Club in Los Angeles.

From the 51st floor and with a view of downtown, the attendees, which included California gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa, gathered to ask the President questions related to relationship of the United States Hispanic communities to Israel.

President Rivlin addressed questions related to Israel education, politics in the Middle East, immigration in the U.S. and Israel, and the acceptance of religions in Israel.

“I really believe you have to understand all the problems, to solve all the problems,” Rivlin said.

The president sat between Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Sam Grundwerg and Peter Villegas, head of Latino affair for Coca-Cola, and spoke to attendees in a lighthearted tone.

Grundwerg introduced the president and referred to those in the audience as dedicated individuals in the U.S. Hispanic communities.

Among several topics, Rivlin addressed his approach to religions in Israel and his openness to differences and said, “we are not doomed to live together, we are destined to live together.”

On the topic of immigration, Rivlin mentioned that it is a problem that everyone has to work to solve.

He agreed that giving free passage to all individuals who wish to emigrate could lead to people taking advantage of the system but stressed that it does not mean the government should take advantage of fear in communities.

The president spoke on how Israel is a land of immigrants and an attendee mentioned that so is the U.S., and asked his opinion on how the U.S. in doing in relation to immigration.

“We should not let any government or any administration take advantage of the fear or take advantage of the danger, in order to close the doors and then to say now we will decide who’s coming in or who ‘s not,” Rivlin responded.

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