Meet Ruby Rivlin, Israel’s New Strong, Nationalistic President

A new era of Israeli politics?

2197021463On Tuesday afternoon, Israel elected a nationalist President -- Likud Party Knesset Member Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin who defines himself in two ways: A man of Jerusalem and a student of Zionist prophet Ze’ev Jabotinsky. He is devoted to strengthening the entire land of Israel, including the settlements of Judea and Samaria and an opponent of the creation of a Palestinian Arab state.

Fitting with his long-standing history as a proud, tough Jew, Rivlin accepted the position as the 10th President of Israel and placed a skullcap on his head and recited a prayer from the Torah. He is respected, thought highly of and as a man born in Jerusalem, a descendant of great Rabbis. Israel’s President is largely a ceremonial position -- but the world can expect to see a strong Israeli occupying the office of President.

Some highlights and comments worth noting:

Rivlin has noted on numerous occasions that “The heart of the dispute in our region is not just one of local territorial disputes,” but an "all-over Arab-Jewish dispute.”  He continued: “Only after we solve the Arab-Jewish conflict and can be confident that the Arab countries recognize Israel and our right to live here in security, can we address the conflict between ourselves and the Palestinians, with whom we are destined to live together.” “We will not, under any circumstances, allow the establishment of a neighboring state that will be a genuine threat on our existence.”

“We have returned to our homeland over the past 200 years in order to stay here. We want real peace, not fake, short-term ‘Peace Now,’ which is liable to be nothing more than an illusion.”

The man is a nationalist who stands strong – as he proclaimed when he was speaker of the Knesset in 2010, “We will not apologize for having liberated Hevron or building Jerusalem. We hereby declare for all to hear: This city will have its defenders! Even if there are those amongst us who have become weak, and who are replacing Zion with Uganda and wish to divide King David’s City – we will not sit by quietly when people come to try to divide this city.”“It is no coincidence that every additional Jewish home in the City of David, the Old City and elsewhere in Jerusalem, shakes the world to its foundations…. The blood of the Hadassah nurses [murdered by an Arab mob in Jerusalem in 1948] cries out from the mountains of Jerusalem. Who dares to divide the ever-united city!? It is the legacy of the fallen that from this mountain we will again take this oath: ‘If I forget thee, o Jerusalem, let my right hand wither.’”

In speeches to “settlers,” Rivlin notes, “You, my brothers, are pioneers.” Tellingly, Dani Dayan, representative of the residents of Judea and Samaria noted yesterday, “Ruby is a true friend of Judea and Samaria, an honorable man whose election is a victory of the whole, beautiful and good land of Israel. “The State of Israel secured a nationalistic President, the scion to a family who built the land, who sees before him the right way to head, without forgetting the path of our fathers, the past and our history.”

Rivlin has said that if Jews cannot live safely in Hebron, neither should Arabs be able to live safely in nearby Abu Sneneh. “But when a playground becomes the murder site of a ten-month-old baby, diplomatic considerations must take a back seat to the need to protect our citizens' lives."

When President Obama visited Jerusalem and spoke at the Convention Center rather than the Knesset, Rivlin said: “Three American presidents [Carter, Clinton and Bush] have spoken on the Knesset stage, as well [Egyptian President Anwar] Sadat and leaders from Europe. President Obama should speak to the people of Israel through its elected representatives.” He added, “President Obama decided not to visit the Knesset, a decision which is in bad taste….The Knesset is a symbol of Israeli sovereignty, and with all due respect to the president, it cannot be ignored.”

In a speech in the Knesset where he urged fellow Knesset members to not cede land, Rivlin said, “Don't you realize that the moment we retreat from one of our fundamental beliefs and dreams, there will no longer be or remain the Zionist entity that we so much wanted to see as the sprouting of our Redemption?"

“We will not apologize – not for conquering Katamon or Jaffa or Tzfat, nor for liberating Hevron, and not for building Jerusalem our capital.”

World: Meet Ruby Rivlin.

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