President's swearing-in scaled back due to war

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 24, 2014
President Reuven Rivlin

President Reuven Rivlin

The tenth president of Israel, Reuven "Rubi" Rivlin, was sworn in at the Knesset today in a ceremony shortened because of the ongoing fighting in Gaza. Farewell celebrations for outgoing President Shimon Peres were postponed.

President Rivlin, who was elected ahead of Kadima MK Meir Sheetrit, said in a joint statement with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein that, "while IDF soldiers are fighting and the citizens of Israel are under threat from rocket barrages, we thought it would be best to hold the event in a more limited framework.

"We strengthen the hands of the IDF in its sacred duty to bring quiet and calm to Israel's residents."

The new president was due to enter the Knesset with a mounted guard of honour but this was cancelled as was a cocktail reception. However his swearing-in ceremony in the Knesset plenum was due to go ahead as planned.

Mr Peres, who completed his seven-year presidential term a week before his 91st birthday, is not expected to leave public life.

We thought it would be best to hold a more limited event

Although he has not spoken yet on his future plans, he is widely expected to start rallying the centre-left parties from his new offices at the Peres Peace Centre in Jaffa. He is hoping for a more spirited effort to relaunch the diplomatic process with the Palestinians.

Last updated: 5:40pm, July 24 2014