Tenth President of the State of Israel, Speaker of the 16th and the 18th Knesset, and former Government Minister. Member of the 12th and the 14th - 19th Knessets, Member of the Jerusalem City Council 1978-1988.
Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin was born in 1939 in the Rehavia neighborhood of Jerusalem. His father, Professor Yosef Yoel Rivlin and his mother, Rachel, were both members of the veteran Rivlin family that immigrated to Eretz Yisrael in the year 5570 or 1809, and was one of the first Jewish families to build their homes outside of the Old City Walls. Rivlin is married to Nechama (his second wife), has four children, nine grandchildren, and has close ties both in his belief system and his way of life to the Jewish religious traditions. He has been a vegetarian for ideological reasons for close to thirty years. Rivlin studied at the Gymnasia Ha'Ivrit high school in Jerusalem and in 1957 enlisted in the IDF where he served as an intelligence officer. During the Six Day War he fought with the Jerusalem Brigade and as an intelligence officer also accompanied the Paratroopers Brigade. He left the military with the rank of Major. Following his military service he studied law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Before his election to the Knesset, and in parallel to his occupation as a lawyer, Rivlin served as the Legal Advisor of the Beitar Jerusalem Sports Association. Later he served as manager of the Beitar football team and chairman of the Association; member of the Jerusalem City Council; Member of the El Al Board; Chairman of the Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene; Member of the Board of the Khan Theater and of the Israel Museum. Rivlin was first elected to the 12th Knesset (1988-1992) on behalf of the Likud faction, and served as Member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, the Knesset House Committee and others. In 1993 Rivlin contended the internal elections of the Likud Jerusalem branch to run as candidate for the position of Mayor of Jerusalem, but lost to Ehud Olmert, who was elected mayor a few months later. Rivlin was again elected a member of the 14th Knesset, where he served as member of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, the Knesset House Committee, the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, and others. In the 15th Knesset (1999-2003) he served as a member of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, the House Committee and others. During this period he also served as Chairman of the Likud faction, which was then in Opposition. In 2001, when Ariel Sharon won against Ehud Barak in direct elections for prime minister, Rivlin was appointed Minister of Communications, and served in this position for two years. As Minister of Communications, he sought to open up and expand the communications market in Israel and to ensure the introduction of advanced infrastructures. In the 16th Knesset (2003-2006), Rivlin was elected to the position of Knesset Speaker. During this term in office he combined his efforts to ensure the independence of the Knesset vis-à-vis the Supreme Court with opposition to Prime Minister Sharon's plan for withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and evacuation of the settlements in the Gaza Strip and in northern Samaria. During the period of the withdrawal, Rivlin did not refrain from expressing his personal position together with his emphasis on the importance of the democratic decision-making process, whatever the outcome. In the 17th Knesset (2006-2009) when the Likud faction was in Opposition, Rivlin served as a regular member of Knesset. He was a member of the House committee, the Finance Committee, the Ethics Committee and others. During this Knesset term, on 13th June 2007, he contended the presidential elections against Shimon Peres. After losing in the first electoral round, he decided to retire from the race, while calling on the members of the Knesset to elect Shimon Peres as President. In the 18th Knesset (2009-2013), Rivlin was once again elected Speaker of the House. During this term Rivlin promoted the independence of the Knesset vis-à-vis the Government and gained broad public recognition for his defence of Israeli democracy and for his efforts to ensure the rights of Israel's minorities. Following the elections to the 19th Knesset, Rivlin was not elected to a further term as Speaker. As a member of Knesset of the Likud faction he served as member of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, the Finance Committee and others and served as Chairman of the Lobby for Jerusalem. On 10th June 2014, Rivlin was elected President of the State of Israel. As President, Rivlin declared his commitment to act to safeguard the State of Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State that is at the same time a Democratic and Jewish State, and to aspire to firmly establish partnership between the different ideological groups in Israeli society and ensure full equality among all its citizens.