News / Middle East

Israel Elects Hard-Liner Rivlin as Next President

Israel's parliament has chosen Reuven Rivlin, second from right, a stalwart in the ruling Likud Party, as the country's next president, in Jerusalem, June, 10, 2014.
Israel's parliament has chosen Reuven Rivlin, second from right, a stalwart in the ruling Likud Party, as the country's next president, in Jerusalem, June, 10, 2014.
VOA News
Israel has elected as its next president a conservative lawmaker who is opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state.

Reuven Rivlin, 74, is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party. He is said to have a frosty personal relationship with Netanyahu.

Rivlin, who has a reputation for political independence, will replace the dovish Shimon Peres in the largely ceremonial, yet influential post.

Congratulating Rivlin at the Knesset ceremony, Netanyahu cited their common history in right-wing politics.
 
“I know you will do your utmost as president to meet the two-fold mission of unifying the nation and showing unity in the face of external challenges,” Netanyahu said. “I promise, as a prime minister from a similar background, to work with you.”

Netanyahu described Rivlin as a “man of Jerusalem” and a “man of the Land of Israel" and said the new president has two main tasks: to unite the nation internally, and externally to be an ambassador for Israel to the world.
 
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, casts his ballot for the presidential election at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem, June 10, 2014.Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, casts his ballot for the presidential election at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem, June 10, 2014.
x
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, casts his ballot for the presidential election at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem, June 10, 2014.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, casts his ballot for the presidential election at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem, June 10, 2014.

A former speaker of parliament, Rivlin defeated Meir Sheetrit of the moderate Hatnuah party by a vote of 63-53 in a run-off in the legislature, after none of the original five candidates won an outright victory in a first round ballot.

Rivlin prayed that God would bless Israel with “shalom,” peace, and then he made a proclamation:

“Long live Israeli democracy!” he said in Hebrew. “Long live the State of Israel!”


Although Israeli heads of state are not directly involved in political decision-making, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Peres used the presidency as a pulpit for advocating peace with the Palestinians.
 
Peres, 90, ends his seven-year presidential term in July.
 
Seeks confederation

Unlike Peres, Rivlin has called for a confederation with the Palestinians rather than negotiating an independent state for them -- something Palestinian leaders have long rejected.
 
Despite his opposition to a Palestinian state, Rivlin won the endorsement of Israel's left-wing Haaretz newspaper, which noted in an editorial on the eve of the ballot that he had long advocated Jewish-Arab cooperation.
 
In an interview last month with The Times of Israel website, Rivlin promised that, if elected president, he would not seek to intervene in the decisions of the country's elected politicians on peacemaking or other issues.
 
Choking back tears at a ceremony in the Knesset after it chose him as president, Rivlin echoed that pledge, saying: “The faith you have shown in me today, in all corners of this house, obliges me to shed, from this moment on, my political role.”
 
Born in Jerusalem, Rivlin, a former communications minister, is married and a father of four. A lawyer by profession, Rivlin has won widespread support from across the political spectrum for his determined defence of democracy and civil rights.
 
Last month, Netanyahu floated a trial balloon on the future of the presidency, ordering his advisers to sound out cabinet colleagues on suspending the poll and evaluating the need for the position, political sources said.
 
Some political analysts suggested that Netanyahu was concerned that a victory by Rivlin, who once publicly accused the prime minister of showing disrespect to parliament, could make him more vulnerable in a future general election.
 
No single party has ever won an outright majority in a national poll. That makes the president - whose duties otherwise carry little power - a key player in coalition-building.
 
Robert Berger contributed to this report from Jerusalem, some information provided by Reuters and AFP.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
June 11, 2014 3:59 AM
Congratulation Mr. President, we wish you success. We pray that God give you the strength to endure the Middle East conflict. We Pray God's blessing upon you, may he guide you and give you wisdom. Shalom to you and to the people of Israel


by: JohnWV from: USA
June 10, 2014 4:09 PM
AIPAC's control of Congress and Mossad's false flag 9-11 New York City massacre instigated all our Mideast wars and Israel benefited from all. None were in American interests, yet we did the financing and the dying. Racist Israel's continuing brutalization of the Palestinians and confiscation of their homeland is illegal and unacceptable. The Jewish State must be forced, by whatever means necessary, to recognize an armed Palestine with externally enforced autonomy, eviction of all settlers, true contiguity encompassing Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem together, neither pinched nor parceled, and pay punitive reparations.


by: Joseph Effiong from: calabar - nigeria
June 10, 2014 3:00 PM
I congratulate Peres for his gentle life and for his pursuit for peace in israel . And congratulations to president elect Mr Rivlin.


by: Ellen Lapidus Stern from: Har Homa, Jerusalem
June 10, 2014 11:59 AM
Congratulations....a Rae of light is added in Jerusalem

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid