Reuven Rivlin elected as the new president of Israel

By Sandy Rashty, June 10, 2014
Reuven Rivlin (Photo: Itzike)

Reuven Rivlin (Photo: Itzike)

Reuven Rivlin has been elected the new president of Israel.

The Likud party MK – widely known as Rubi Rivlin - will replace Shimon Peres as the 10th president, after 116 Knesset members voted in a secret ballot this morning.

After the second round of voting, Mr Rivlin received 63 votes, while MK Meir Sheetrit of the Hatnua party received 53.

Mr Rivlin, a lawyer, is the former speaker of the Knesset. He served as director and chairman of the Beitar Jerusalem Sports Association and is the former communications minister in the Ariel Sharon government.

In an interview with the JC, the 74-year-old said it is the “destiny” of Israelis and Palestinians to live together side by side, “unfortunately this is not understood by many Jews and Palestinians”.

According to reports, he once described Reform Judaism as “idol worship”.

However a spokesman for Reform Judaism in the UK congratulated Mr Rivlin on Twitter: "We congratulate Reuven Rivlin and trust he will regard all Jews and religious leaders with equal respect and dignity".

Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, said: "Reuven Rivlin has proved that he can act across party lines and reach out to the wider world. One of the new president’s key tasks will be to strengthen Israel’s links with the Jewish diaspora, and we look forward to continuing the close collaboration which the WJC has had with Shimon Peres with President Rivlin."

The presidential race was marred by controversy. Commentators have claimed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to block Mr Rivlin’s candidacy as he was said to be a rival to Mr Netanyahu within the Likud party.

The president elect will be sworn in on July 24.

Last updated: 12:59pm, June 11 2014