President Reuven Rivlin and First Lady Nechama Rivlin on Monday evening hosted a state dinner at their residence in honor of the visiting Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and his wife.
Rivlin began by stressing the long history of the warm relations between Israel and Romania, noting, "Israel and Romania, have a long, and close friendship; we have held diplomatic relations, since 1948, and notably, in 2014 alone we signed together 17 agreements for cooperation."
He went on to speak about the importance of Holocaust education, and the challenge posed by those who refused to acknowledge the historic involvement of the many others who cooperated with the Nazis' persecution and murder of the Jews.
"In the last few years we have seen more and more attacks on history. Too many people have failed to take responsibility for their part in the Holocaust. The Government of Romania, however, recognizes the truth and took responsibility for the fate of the Jews of Romania. Today, you are doing so much to educate and keep alive their memory," said Rivlin and added, "The State of Israel and the Jewish people around the world appreciate this very much."
Iohannis last year signed into law a bill criminalizing Holocaust denial with a prison sentence of up to three years.
Rivlin also congratulated the Romanian President's strong stand against corruption, and in support of democratic freedoms. He said, "Mr. President, your country and your people are not just brave when facing the challenges of the past. You are brave when facing the challenges of the present. You have taken a firm stand against corruption, and spoken clearly of the importance of the rule of law. You are a defender of freedom of speech, and freedom of press."
He concluded, "I wish you success, and many blessings in this important work, and may we continue to grow stronger together, in friendship and cooperation."
Iohannis thanked Rivlin and said, "My visit in Jerusalem today is an expression of our commitment to strengthen the political dialog between Romania and the State of Israel. Romania was one of the first countries to recognize and establish diplomat relations with the State of Israel in 1948. Our bilateral relations have developed over the years as a natural partnership based on common values and views on a wide range of international issues. In the economic field our cooperation includes a vast range of sectors, yet there is still much potential for further strengthening our economic relationship, and it is high time we worked to identify more opportunities it enhance it."
He added, "The community of Israelis originating from Romania is one of the most important communities in Israel both in terms of size and cohesion, and continues serve as a valuable bridge between Romania and Israel. I am very proud of the contribution of the community to the Israeli economy and its strength as a state."