Shortly after the Knesset elected Reuven Rivlin as Israel`s 10th president on Tuesday, Knesset Director-General Ronen Plot, Knesset members, Knesset employees, Knesset Secretary Yardena Meller-Horowitz and family members gathered at Chagall Hall to toast the new president.
During the ceremony, Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein said: ”The Knesset elected you to the supreme post of president of the State of Israel and expressed its trust in your ability to serve as a symbol and example of the uniting force of Israeli society. Our sages have taught us that being appointed to a public position is not about authority, but about dedication to the public. I wish you great success in the fulfillment of your role…I hope that [as president] you will continue to unify the people and that we will work together for unity in the nation and in government.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Rivlin, ”you are a man of Jerusalem; a man of the Land of Israel and the first citizen of the State of Israel. Two major tasks are before you: The first is to unite the nation – all its parts – from the inside; and the second is to represent Israel in the world. Israel is the most challenged country on the face of the earth. I know you will do all you can as president to complete these tasks, and I promise we will do it together with you. I respect what you have done over the many years we have worked together. I congratulate you, the next president of Israel.”
Head of the Opposition MK Isaac Herzog (Israel Labor Party) joked that ”I would be happy to give your kids advice about what it is like to be the son of a president” adding, ”I am convinced that you will be an amazing president, unifying, uniting and a sympathetic ear also for those whose opinions are not like yours. You will bring us pride as a nation and as individuals. I want to extend our heartfelt blessings. Long live the president. Good luck. ”
President-elect Rivlin said: ”Today, we have reached the end of a hard and difficult election. The election process suffered from a lack of trust. I want to thank my fellow candidates, who added beauty to the elections and I hope that they will continue to faithfully serve the public. The Knesset has been a home for me. How great is my love for it, for all those in it and for all its employees. From this moment, a personal process of separation has begun. Today, I merited [receiving] your trust and the trust of the public through you. This trust obligates me to shed the cloak of politics that I have wrapped myself in for many years and to leave my political home, the Likud. From this moment, I do not belong to any party; rather, I belong to everyone, a man of the nation. Today, I begin my way to a different house, a house whose door will be open to everyone, in it all will gather for a united Israeli experience. I want to thank those who voted for me and those who did not support me, but who expressed their faith in me. I stand here before you with a great mission. Long live the Israeli democracy! Long live Israel!
Earlier in the day, Rivlin, of the Likud-Yisrael Beitenu party, received 63 of 116 valid votes in a runoff election against MK Meir Sheetrit (Hatenua), 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.