Rivlin’s record-breaking presidency in numbers

More pardons (1,830), more criminal records canceled (1,365), more elections (5), and more meeting-hours to discuss forming coalitions (47) than predecessors

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

President Reuven Rivlin speaks at a ceremony at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on July 5, 2021. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
President Reuven Rivlin speaks at a ceremony at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on July 5, 2021. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

President Reuven Rivlin has the dubious record of overseeing more elections, tasking more lawmakers with forming a government, and spending more hours in consultations to form a government than any other president, according to a statement Tuesday from the President’s Residence.

While serving as the country’s figurehead through a tumultuous political period, Rivlin also granted more pardons and canceled more criminal records than any of his predecessors, the statement read.

Rivlin, 81, was elected to office on July 24, 2014; his term ends on Wednesday.

In those seven years, the president oversaw an election in 2015, two in 2019, one more in 2020, and another in 2021.

He sat through 47 hours of negotiations with lawmakers about establishing a government and on eight occasions he entrusted an MK with the task of forming a coalition, most recently tapping now-Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in May.

Rivlin also initiated several programs to pardon prisoners or cancel criminal records.

One such program aimed to erase the records of soldiers or those performing national service who were convicted before they began their service. As a result, the criminal records of 350 soldiers were canceled.

Israel’s 70th Independence Day was celebrated in 2017 and Rivlin marked the occasion with a special pardons program. Pardons were given to elderly prisoners, those with severe health issues, those whose children were not being taken care of by parents because of imprisonment, and prisoners who were themselves victims of crimes, among others.

Those convicted of murder, manslaughter, security crimes, sex crimes, or crimes under the authority of military courts were not included in the program.

According to the statement, the program saw the president reduce sentences at a rate over ten times his usual rate.

Over the past seven years, Rivlin also introduced programs to cancel criminal records for some offenders in the Ethiopian community. He also initiated a similar program for those leaving prostitution.

In total Rivlin granted 1,830 pardons.

Here, then, is his presidency in numbers.

  • 35 state visits, 879 meetings with leaders, heads of religions and diplomats at the President’s Residence
  • 785 video message for events and leaders
  • 932 tours to locations around the country
  • 62 condolence call to families of terror victims, and 190 condolence calls to families of fallen soldiers
  • 33 judicial swearing ceremonies, which installed 454 judges and senior registrars
  • 36 diplomatic credential ceremonies to welcome 168 ambassadors
  • 1,830 pardons granted and 1,365 criminal files canceled, of which 350 were soldiers’

Rivlin, Israel’s tenth president, will be succeeded by Isaac Herzog, the grandson of Israel’s sixth president Chaim Herzog.

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