The Archbishop of Canterbury has told the Israeli President that the last 100 years has seen “extraordinary things” happen in Israel, but that the 1917 Balfour Declaration has “an element of unfinished business”.

The head of the Anglican Church met the head of the Jewish state on Tuesday, declaring himself a “profound friend of Israel”. Rivlin replied that Israel was “the only country in the Middle East when the Christian community is flourishing,” and introduced Welby to Israeli Supreme Court Judge Salim Joubran, who is Christian.

Welby said Israel’s independent judiciary “shows some of the immense strength and depth of this society, its culture and history,” but pleaded for tolerance and respect.

He said: “There cannot be peace without every person in the region – Israeli, Israeli Arab, Israeli Jewish, Palestinian – all of them being sure they can pursue their lives, pursue their aims without fearing the bomb or the bullet, without fearing persecution, recognised as being validly and legitimately who they are, knowing they can bring up children, and educate them to love their neighbours, respect them, and listen to them even where they disagree.”

He added: “We are at the hundredth anniversary of Balfour, and it has led to extraordinary things,” and noted that “for some of us who are profound friends of Israel, who feel huge admiration, deep affection, and who loathe and hate anti-Semitism, and speak against it wherever it occurs, whether it is implicit or explicit, there is an element of unfinished business – because until there is peace in region, the Balfour Declaration has an element of unfinished business”.

Joining Welby and Rivlin was Anglican Archbishop of Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani, and British Ambassador David Quarrey.

Rivlin “Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian community is flourishing. And Israel is committed to the values of freedom of religion for all people of faith. This is our value and our duty as a Jewish-Democratic state.”