President Rivlin welcomes injured British and Israeli veterans for inaugural sporting event

“We face the same enemies…and we share the same values,” the president told the British and Israeli representatives.

By World Israel News Staff

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin welcomed injured veterans from the U.K. and Israel to his official residence in Jerusalem on Thursday on the occasion of the first Veterans’ Games, the president’s office said in a statement.

The Games are a new event “during which 100 injured veterans from Israel and the United Kingdom compete in a number of sporting events and meet with international experts on post-trauma and rehabilitation,” said the statement, which added that the event is hosted by the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization.

The English Chelsea Football Club sent a team of coaches to the Games to work with children of veterans from both countries and conduct workshops with Israeli sports instructors, said Rivlin’s office.

“Looking around this room, I see true heroes who answered their country’s call and went to war to preserve our values and protect us all. I salute you!” the president told the participants, adding: “I am proud to see our own IDF soldiers here today who also bear the scars of battle and who took part in the games. You returned from battle but there were those – your comrades, your friends – who did not. Let us pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

“Israel and Britain are true allies,” said Rivlin. “We face the same enemies: global terrorism and those [who] seek to undermine global security, and we share the same values: democracy, freedom, and tolerance,” he added.

Also present was British Minister for the Middle East Andrew Murrison.

“I am inspired by these games that bring together Israeli and British servicemen and servicewomen,” said MP Murrison. “The mark of a decent society is the way it treats its veterans. That is the essence of the military covenant – the agreement between the state and the military that we will do the best by you, those who have given the most to the state,” the British minister told the gathering.

A representative of the veterans, Warrant Officer Matt Tomlinson of the Royal Marines, said that “during the competition, we shared sweat, pain and more pain, neither side giving up but both sides encouraging and supporting the other.”