Jerusalem – It was a message of optimism from Reuven Rivlin to the father of a female IDF soldier who reached out to the Israeli president on social media after his daughter was pelted with garbage and dirty diapers during a visit to an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Jerusalem.
Alon Shadmi posted a message to Rivlin’s Facebook page on October 26th telling him how his daughter Tamar was leading a group of new recruits to the IDF’s Garin Tzabar program in Meah Shearim when local residents assaulted her with refuse.
“The group had to leave with the help of police after they threw eggs, water bottles, dirty diapers and even a jerry can of water at them, just because my daughter was a woman dressed in an army uniform,” wrote Shadmi.
Shadmi expressed hope that President Rivlin could find a way to mend these disturbing rifts in Israeli society that “divide the tribes in our land.”
Rivlin responded two days later on Facebook, expressing his distress over the incident saying that no IDF solider should ever be subjected to the type of abuse that Shadmi described.
“There is no answer that will ever give a parent peace of mind after hearing about an incident like this from their daughter, who they proudly sent to the army,” wrote Rivlin.
Rivlin said that he believes that it is just a small minority of extremists who act in this way and that he has met countless members of the Chareidi community, both young and old, who work daily to build bridges between Israel’s culturally diverse communities.
“These are people who see only the good in everyone and I believe, because I see these initiatives every day, that the citizens of Israel who are completely devoted to creating harmony in all sectors of Israeli society,” wrote Rivlin.
Rivlin praised Tamar Shadmi for her efforts in the IDF Educational Corps and said that, while it may be difficult, it is important not to let the actions of a few extremist derail the positive trends that are uniting Israelis from all walks of life.
Shadmi said he was heartened by Rivlin’s response.
“Like you, I believe in the power of good and am grateful for every action that brings unity,” wrote Shadmi on Facebook. “In my eyes, the presidency is the largest public agency that works tirelessly to bring our tribes together and I appreciate those efforts. Thank you for your response.”