President Rivlin: In State Based on ‘Vision of Prophets,’ Diaspora Jews Are ‘Fifth Tribe’

“For you are a people consecrated to Hashem your God: of all the peoples on earth Hashem your God chose you to be His treasured people.” Deuteronomy 7:6 (The Israel Bible™)

The Jews of the Diaspora are a “fifth tribe” of the State of Israel, President Reuven Rivlin told 3,000 Jewish leaders on Monday at the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly in Los Angeles.

Speaking at the conference for the first time since he took office in 2014, Rivlin called on the language of the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah, which means “The Hope,” to inspire American Jews to support Israel. He said that “ensuring ‘Israeli hope’ for every young man and woman in Israel is also the key to ensuring the Jewish hope.”

The president revived a speech he gave back in 2015 at a the annual Herzliya Conference, warning attendees that tribal schisms are tearing Israel apart. He said there is no longer a clear Zionist majority in Israel, but that society is made up of four sectors or tribes: secular Jews, National Religious Jews, Haredim, and Arabs.

“These sectors study in separate education systems, live in separate towns, have different media, and hold different ideas about Israel and its values,” said Rivlin. “These demographic changes are nothing less than an earthquake.

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“When we look at today’s first-grade classes, where about 50 percent are Arabs and Haredim, we must ask ourselves, what are the values shared by the majority of Israelis today? How can we create a common language? How can we create a shared Israeli hope?”

He said to meet the challenge Israel needs to partner with a “fifth tribe, the Jews of the Diaspora.”

“This is the Jewish and democratic state that we all dreamed of for two thousand years,” said Rivlin. “A state based on the vision of the Prophets of Israel. A state that respects the unique identity of each sector in Israeli society, and the Jewish people. A state that regards equality and fairness as its guiding light. A state that demands shared responsibility from all. A state that does not compromise on its Jewish identity or its vision of Jewish peoplehood, while also having a vision of a shared Israeli identity for all its citizens: Jews and non-Jews alike.”

Rivlin said that in meetings with President Donald Trump, he told the president the world – including Israel – needs a strong United States, but the United States also needs a strong Israel.

“Keeping Israel strong and secure is also a task we share,” said Rivlin.