President Reuven Rivlin hosted dozens of Muslim officials Sunday in the President's Residence and broke the Ramadan fast with them at the same time that Jews were breaking the Fast of the 17th of Tammuz. At the start of the festive meal, Rivlin gave a speech and said that the Arabs' citizenship in Israel was theirs by right.
"The citizenship of the state of Israel's Arab residents is a citizenship that is not dependent on the mercy of anyone,” he said. “It does not depend on anyone's kind heartedness.”
Rivlin's statement was a riposte to one made by Deputy Interior Minister, MK Yaron Mazuz, on the Knesset podium, two weeks ago, during a debate about allowing Arabs from foreign countries who marry Israeli citizens to become citizens themselves. “We are doing you a favor by letting you be here,” he said, looking at Arab MKs from the Joint List who were heckling and interrupting speeches as is their wont.
"I will take action to take away the citizenship of those who subvert the state of Israel,” Mazuz vowed. “You are the first person who should hand back her ID card,” he told MK Hanin Zoabi.
"This very statement is delusive and irresponsible,” Rivlin told an Army Radio reporter who covered the festive meal. “What I said in my speech needs to be said, even though it is clear to everyone. I said it, not in order to refute statements made by someone, but to determine the simple fact that in Israel, Arabs and Jews live together.”