U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday congratulated MK Reuven Rivlin on being elected president of Israel.
“Over more than six decades, the United States and Israel have developed a unique relationship based on shared democratic values, our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, and our partnership in scientific research and innovative technology,” Obama said in a statement.
“President-elect Rivlin has a long and dedicated record of public service and we look forward to continued strong ties, to the benefit of both our nations, under Mr. Rivlin’s presidency,” he added.
“As President Shimon Peres nears the end of his term, he can look back on a remarkable legacy of courage, conviction, and compassion. He has dedicated his extraordinary life to the cause of peace, and I look forward to welcoming him in Washington later this month where he will receive the Congressional Gold Medal,” said Obama.
Rivlin won Israel's presidential elections earlier Tuesday, beating his opponent MK Meir Sheetrit (Hatnua) in the second round of votes.
119 out of 120 Members of Knesset voted in the second round, with 63 voting for Rivlin and 53 for Sheetrit. Three MKs cast blank ballots.
In the first round of voting, MK Rivlin received 44 votes, and MK Sheetrit got 31 - and with no candidate receiving an outright majority the two were forced to face off in a second round of voting.
Rivlin’s victory was welcomed by many MKs, including Danny Danon (Likud) and Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid).