Rivlin says he’s leaving politics to be ‘man of the nation’

Rivlin takes the podium to raucous applause.

“What a fight you put up,” Rivlin says, addressing Meir Sheetrit, his main contender for the presidency. He then addresses Israeli Arabs and secular and religious Jews alike.

Putting on a skullcap and reciting a prayer with a crack of emotion in his voice, Rivlin praises the Almighty for blessing Israel with peace.

“The Knesset was my home,” says Rivlin, who has served 22 years in the Israeli parliament. “I earned your trust today,” he says, thanking all 63 of the MKs, from both sides of the aisle, who voted for him.

“I was a politician for many years,” he says, but now must abandon party politics and become “a man of the nation.” The President’s Residence, which he will shortly occupy, is “the house of all Israelis,” he says.

“Citizens of Israel,” Rivlin says in closing. “I thank you for your trust. Long live Israeli democracy, long live the state of Israel.”

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