“Select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.” (Exodus 18:21)
After seven years of leadership from Israel’s beloved President Shimon Peres, Israel has a new president-elect: Reuven “Rubi” Rivlin.
From the political party Likud, right-leaning Rivlin garnered 63 votes for the presidential seat on Tuesday, 10 more than Hatnua contender Meir Sheetrit.
Peres called Rivlin on Tuesday evening to welcome him to the post.
“Rubi, Your Excellency the next President of the State of Israel, you are right for this role,” Peres told Rivlin. “It is a position that brings with it responsibility, you have to consider your every word and every action, but you will do it successfully because you are, to your core, a good person.”
“You deserve this honor, and I’m glad of it,” he said to the president-elect. “I cannot envision a higher cause then serving the people faithfully, honestly and in good hope, and you are equipped with all these features.” (Times of Israel)
Peres also offered his support in the transition period.
“There is a handover period and I am at your disposal from this moment onwards with whatever you need. My team and I will do everything we can to ensure the handover is conducted is honorably and professionally and we do it gladly,” he said.
Thanking Peres, Rivlin said, “I am stepping into big shoes, it won’t be easy to be the 10th President after your presidency in which you’ve done a lot of good for humanity.”
Peres, who is 90, is apparently wrapping up 67 years of public service. He is much admired for his commitment to the pursuit of peace, for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, alongside then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Born in Belorussia (then, Poland), Peres and his family fled to pre-state Israel in 1934, where he studied agricultural science and joined the party of Zionist leader David Ben Gurion.
The Rivlin clan, which can trace their lineage to an ancestor in 1550 Vienna and to the 18th century’s esteemed Gaon (Sage) of Vilna, claim to be the first family to settle in Ottoman Palestine.
“Most families here have short histories, yet the Rivlins go back to the very beginnings of modern Jewish life,” said historian Muki Tzur, who is also part of the Rivlin clan. “And in a country with so much loss and grief, a large family like this, with so many achievements, is a symbol of collective hope.” (Haaretz)
Rivlin met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for two hours on Wednesday to discuss Israel’s future.
Although the two have had differences in the past, both promised a more positive relationship in the future.
“We have known each other for several good decades. We are both from Jerusalem, the sons of professors who were educated in the philosophy of Jabotinsky and we have much more in common—such as our football team. Joint work on behalf of all Israelis is before us. We have gone through much together and I am certain that we will now know to put the less good aspects aside and work responsibly for the future of the State of Israel,” he said.