Reuven Rivlin, a prominent Israeli politician from the Likud party, was voted in as the 10th president of the State of Israel on Tuesday.
“Long live Israel!” Reuven Rivlin declared upon becoming the State of Israel`s 10th president on Tuesday afternoon.
Rivlin, scheduled to serve a single, seven-year term, will be ceremoniously sworn in as first citizen of Israel on July 24, 2014, replacing outgoing President Shimon Peres.
A Member of Knesset (Israeli parliament) from the Likud party, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Rivlin gathered 63 of 116 valid votes in a runoff election against MK Meir Sheetrit, who won 53 votes.
Rivlin and Sheetrit went to a second round runoff after none of the candidates succeeded in obtaining a majority 61 votes in the first round of voting at the plenum.
Of the 119 ballots cast in the first round (MK Meir Porush was overseas), Rivlin received the most votes, 44, followed by Sheetrit with 31. Former Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik received 28 votes, followed by former Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner, 13, and Nobel laureate Dan Shechtman, who received only one vote. Two votes were disqualified.
Reuven Rivlin: A ‘Man of the People’
“As a man of the Land of Israel and Israel’s first citizen, you have two missions: to bring all the parts of the society together and to represent Israel to the world,” Netanyahu asserted.
“Now, I am no longer a party man, I am no longer a faction man. I am everybody’s man. A man of the people,” Rivlin stated.
“The Knesset is the spice of life of the Israeli democracy,” he added. However, “from this moment on, I begin a personal process of separation from the place that has been my home.”
Thanking politicians from diverse parties, Rivlin said:
“We can prove that despite our differences, we can live together as one united society.”
Rivlin, who served two terms as Speaker of the Knesset, was born in Jerusalem in 1939. He is married and has four children. A lawyer by training, Rivlin served as director and chairman of the Beitar Jerusalem Sports Association, as a member of the Jerusalem city council for a decade and as chairman of the Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene. He had also served as Minister of Communications.
Shimon Peres Congratulates Reuven Rivlin
Outgoing President Shimon Peres congratulated the president-elect, saying:
“Rubi, Your Excellency the next President of the State of Israel, you are right for this role. It is a position that brings with it responsibility, you have to consider your every word and every action, but you will do it successfully because you are, to your core, a good person. There is a handover period and I am at your disposal from this moment onwards with whatever you need. My team and I will do everything we can to ensure the handover is conducted is honorably and professionally and we do it gladly.
“I am at the end of my seven-year term as president. and it is an incredible privilege to serve to our people,” Peres continued. “As president, your role is to serve, not to rule, and in my eyes there is no greater honor than to faithfully serve your nation and your people. You have all the qualities to do just that. I wish you luck and I am confident that you will succeed in your future, which is also the future of the State of Israel.”
Written by: United with Israel Staff
(With files from the Israel Government Press Office)