The 81-year-old former Likud firebrand-turned-statesman: Reuven Rivlin

#11 - Israel's adult: President Reuven Rivlin

Israel President Reuven Rivlin (photo credit: JERUSALEM POST)
Israel President Reuven Rivlin
(photo credit: JERUSALEM POST)
Three elections. Three nasty political campaigns and three tough decisions on who should be tapped to attempt to form the government. While Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz were busy slinging mud at one another, there has been one constant in Israel trying to lower the flames of division and bring the people together - President Reuven Rivlin.
The 81-year-old former Likud firebrand-turned-statesman of the country, Rivlin was instrumental at preventing a fourth election and bringing about the current unity coalition.  He was a voice of calm reason throughout the tumultuous election period, and he kept his preferences to himself. Although he tasked Netanyahu with forming a government, there is little doubt that he would have preferred to see Gantz as prime minister.
During the current coronavirus pandemic as well, Rivlin has tried to allay the fears of the country’s citizenship. In his grandfatherly manner, he’s urged them to follow the proper social distancing and gathering conventions needed to contain the pandemic. This is despite the blemish on his record at not following his own advice and holding a Seder last Passover with visiting family members, despite the prohibition against it.
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But it’s Rivlin’s likability and the genuine affection much of the country feels for him, that enabled him to emerge from that embarrassing situation, which he apologized for, unscathed. No one in Israel gets to meet so many people from almost every social status and from so many different walks of life as much as him.
Although he’s now in the last year of his presidency, Rivlin could still have a big role to play in the direction Israel is going to take. If another election is called before the end of his presidential term this year, he will once again face the supreme task.  After a lifetime serving the public and his country, Rivlin could crown his career by overseeing the formation of one more government - possibly the first one in 11 years that won’t be led by Netanyahu.