(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) With 63 of 116 valid votes among members of the Knesset, MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) was voted Israel’s 10th president on Tuesday at the culmination of a close, two-round election.
Rivlin’s rival in the second round runoff, MK Meir Sheetrit (Hatnuah), received 53 votes in what commentators considered a surprisingly strong showing. Of the 120 eligible MKs, 119 cast ballots (one MK was absent due to an engagement abroad). In the first round, two ballots were disqualified due to double ballots in the envelope. In the second round, three voters submitted blank ballots.
None of the five candidates—Nobel Prize laureate Professor Daniel Shechtman, former Knesset speaker Dalia Itzik, retired Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner, former Knesset speaker Rivlin, and Sheetrit—was able to win the necessary 61-vote majority for an automatic victory in the first round. Rivlin and Sheetrit received 44 and 31 votes in the first round, respectively, to advance to the second round.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he “looks forward to cooperation with Rivlin for the sake of the unity of Israel and for all the citizens of Israel.”