I congratulate Reuven “Ruby” Rivlin on his election to the presidency of our beloved State of Israel. He is now president-elect of the only Jewish nation in the world, and the symbolic leader of the world’s most diverse Jewish community. The State of Israel was founded to build a creative and inspiring Jewish and democratic homeland that offers its people a bright, welcoming and inclusive future. He follows a particularly strong predecessor, President Shimon Peres, whose inspired statesmanship brought together divergent streams of people for the good of Israel.
The office of the president of the State of Israel is largely symbolic, intended to unify the country and bring it enhanced stature. But from the outset the definition of the role, to “stand at the head of the state,” has been vague, leading critics to call for its abolishment on the grounds that it is unnecessary and costly.
Reuven Rivlin of the Likud party was elected president of Israel in a campaign that was fraught with scandal.
Rivlin was elected in the second round of Knesset balloting on Tuesday, defeating Meir Sheetrit of the Hatnua party in a 63-53 runoff vote. The former Knesset speaker becomes Israel’s 10th president and succeeds Shimon Peres.