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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More