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June 10, 2014 8:50 am

Likud’s Reuven ‘Ruby’ Rivlin Wins Runoff Vote in Israel’s 10th Presidential Race

avatar by Dave Bender

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin. Photo: wiki commons.

Likud Party Knesset Member Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin, 74, on Tuesday afternoon won a Knesset vote to become the 10th president of the State of Israel.

Rivlin’s extensive political record is available on the Knesset website.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein announced the final tally at 3:15 p.m. local time from the Knesset plenum, after a quick vote.

Rivlin took 63 out of 119 votes in the secret ballot in the 120-member body, beating out Ha’tnua Party Knesset Member Meir Sheetrit with 53 votes.

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The former Knesset speaker and political stalwart led the first round of voting which began at 11:00 a.m. with 44 votes, coming in ahead of Sheetrit’s 31 votes.

Dalia Itzik of the Labor Party, who received 28 votes, said afterward that she was backing Sheetrit with her votes.

Non-politicians former Supreme Court justice (1993 – 2004) Dalia Dorner received 13 votes and Nobel Prize Laureate Prof. Dan Schectman received one vote.

The second round of voting ended at 2:50 and the ballot box was taken by a three member panel of Knesset Members to count the votes in a separate room.

At one point the two front-runners posed together with other Knesset members and smiled in “selfie” cameraphone shots, somewhat breaking the political tensions in the plenum, where the voting took place.

“I hope the image of the two candidates shaking hands and taking a selfie will characterize our relations,” Edelstein said at the conclusion of the second round of voting.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in brief comments after the tally was announced, said, “I look forward to working with the new president for the sake of the unity of Israel and the people of Israel.”

Rivlin, a father of four, is a seventh-generation Jerusalemite with a well-trod downtown street named after his family and is a descendant of Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna, known as the Vilna Gaon.

On July 24, Rivlin will replace outgoing President Shimon Peres, who steps down after seven years in the ceremonial role.

Peres, in a congratulatory telephone call to Rivlin, said, “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.”

Replying that he was “…stepping into big shoes,” Rivlin thanked Peres, concluding that “it won’t be easy to be the 10th president after your presidency in which you done a lot of good for humanity, thank you Shimon.”

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