In a modest ceremony at the Knesset on Thursday, Reuven Rivlin was sworn in as Israel’s tenth president of Israel.
Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein oversaw a special parliamentary session, which was attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, dignitaries and governmental leaders, as the State of Israel welcomed its newest president.
Several Israeli Arab MK’s boycotted the swearing in ceremony in protest of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
With a yarmulka covering his head, Rivlin placed his left hand on a Hebrew copy of the Jewish Bible while, which his right hand raised, he took the presidential oath. Rivlin proceeded to recite the Shehechiyanu blessing, a traditional Jewish blessing that is said upon the establishment of a new event.
Twin ram’s horns were blown to signal the start of Rivlin’s seven year term as president.
“With this prayer, in awe and humility, on your behalf and at your command, I come to faithfully fulfill my role as tenth president of the State of Israel,” Rivlin stated.
In his speech, Rivlin mentioned the ongoing crisis in Gaza and the battle Israel is facing. He stressed that Israel is not making war with the Palestinian people or Muslims, but rather those terrorists bent on the total annihilation of the Jewish state.
“We are gathered here today with a very clear message to our enemies: You have not overcome us and you will not do so,” he said. “We are not fighting against the Palestinian people, and we are not at war with Israel; we are fighting against terrorism.”
Rivlin expressed his hopes for the future, which include peace in Israel.
“The day will come when the dark terrorism is eradicated from our land. The day will come when we will dwell here in peace and harmony with each other; the day will come when there will be peace between Israel and its neighbors,” he said.
Rivlin thanked Shimon Peres, his predecessor, for being “the shepherd of our hopes, and the poet of a vision.”
Peres, in a farewell speech before Rivlin’s swearing in, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to serve his country.
“There is no greater privilege,” he said.
In some of his last words as president, Peres slammed Hamas for initiating the current round of conflict with Israel and the terror organizations practice of using children as human shields.
“Never has such a minority torn apart the fabric of whole societies, so cruelly sent children to serve as shields for its crimes,” he said. “Hamas has once against put hundreds of thousands of the citizens of Gaza in harm’s way, into a field of fire.”
Peres also slammed the United Nations Human Rights Council was has launched an investigation into Israel for what it says are war crimes in Gaza.
“It is hard to fathom how a council that bears the words ‘human rights’ in its name decided to establish a committee to investigate who is right. Is it the murderers or those who refuse to be murdered?” he asked.
Turning to speak to Rivlin directly, Peres wished Israel’s newest president luck and success.
“I wish you success, that you should serve the nation in your positive way, as you already do, with your great heart, with your face full of light,” Peres said. “You already have what is expected from a president. I am sure you will succeed in our way and strengthen the future of the State of Israel.”
Before officially stepping down from the plenum to a standing ovation, marking his transition from president into civilian, Peres’s last words were, “Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”