Rivlin heard saying ‘willing to start’ Yad Vashem event without late official

Local media and social media are focusing on some behind-the-scenes drama at today’s ceremony at Yad Vashem, after President Reuven Rivlin was caught on camera before the start of the event saying he was “willing to start” without an unidentified person.

The ceremony was running late as Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin had been delayed at another event.

After speaking with French President Emmanuel Macron, Rivlin is approached by a Yad Vashem official who says someone is late. Rivlin replies: “We know. I’m ready to start immediately without him. He’ll come, I’ll receive him… I’m ready to start, I don’t care if he’s not here.”

Speculation is running rampant that Rivlin was referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose relations with the president have long been rumored to be tense.

But it seems more likely the mysterious late person is Russian President Vladimir Putin: for one thing, Netanyahu is seen entering the hall a few short minutes later; for another, Putin indeed arrived some 20 minutes after the ceremony began and was greeted by Rivlin, who showed him to his seat.

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