Israel's tenth president, Reuven Rivlin, will be sworn into office in a low-key ceremony in the Knesset Thursday. The larger ceremony that had been planned was scrapped as inappropriate, because of the ongoing fighting in Gaza.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) and President-elect Rivlin instructed the relevant professional elements to prepare a modest ceremony. “The president's swearing in ceremony will take place at the determined time amd there will be no change in the content of the formal event in the Knesset, in which the president swears allegiance,” the two said in a joint statement. “However, as IDF soldiers fight and the citizens of Israel are under missile barrages, we felt that it would be proper to conduct the cereony in a more modest and limited way. We strengthen the hands of the IDF in its sacred mission of bringing quiet and peace to all of Israel's citizens, soon.”
The honor guard for the president-elect in the Knesset plaza will be smaller than usual. The swearing-in in the plenum will take place as originally planned, but the third planned part of the ceremony, which was to include a festive cocktail at the Chagall Hall, has been cancelled.
Rivlin replaces Shimon Peres, who has completed a 7-year term. Peres entered Israeli political life in the 1950s and is the only person to have served both as president and as prime minister of Israel. He was elected to the Knesset in 1959 and served there continuously for the following 48 years, except for a hiatus of a few months.
While widely credited for diplomacy that played a crucial role in Israel's obtaining of a nuclear reactor in the 1960s, Peres is deeply resented in nationalist circles, especially for his key role in the Oslo Accords.