Israeli was declared as a state in 1948 and fell under the leadership of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion until the first elections held in 1949. The country became a parliamentary democracy headed by the president. Since its establishment, Israeli’s presidents were allowed to serve for a maximum of two five-year term. The tenure changed to a seven-year non-renewable term in 2000. The Knesset elects the president through secret ballot. The Basic Law on the presidency stipulates duties and responsibilities of the Israeli president which include endorsing credentials of ambassadors, appointing the Governor of the Bank of Israel, signing laws and ceremonially appointing the prime minister and court judges.
Presidents Of Israel Since 1948
Chiam Weizmann (1949-1952)
Weizmann was elected as the first Israeli president and served until his death in November 1952. Weizmann was an active Zionist leader and a chemist who saw the establishment of several institutions of higher learning including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. During the time he resided in Britain, he advocated for Jewish freedom playing instrumental roles in Zionist movements. Weizmann worked to gather the support of other nations especially Britain in the rebuilding of Israel in Palestine after the First World War. During WWII, he pushed for the unrestricted migration of the Jews into Palestine. As the president, he sought support from the US in establishing Israel.
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi (1952-1963)
Ben-Zvi was the second president of Israel from December 1952 to 1963 when he died. Like Weizmann, he was an active Zionist leader in Ukraine during which he defended and fought for the freedom of the Jews and was a member of the Jewish Legion, the Ahdut HaAvoda party, and the Jerusalem City Council. Ben-Zvi was one of the individuals alongside David Ben-Gurion in the signing of the Declaration of Independence. As a president, he believed in setting an example for the citizenry, through his home- a wooden hut that reflected the history of the Jews.
Shimon Peres (2007-2014)
Shimon Peres is the 9th president of Israel who served for a seven-year term from 2007. Peres has a political career of seventy years during which he has served in various government positions including the minister of transport, finance, defense, and foreign affairs and as the 8th prime minister of Israel. He is noted for different actions in his political life such as promoting the use of internet in Israel, and his pursuit for close relations with some nations including France. He died of a stroke in 2016 in Tel Aviv.
Reuven Rivlin (2014-Present)
Rivlin is the elect president who took office in 2014 as the 10th president. The politician and lawyer is a member of the Likud party. He previously served as the legal advisor to the Beitar Football team. He also served in the Knesset as speaker and Likud as a minister of communications. He is an opinionated politician who supports the one-state solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. He is enthusiastic about fighting for rights of minorities.
Other notable presidents
Other personalities who have held the head of state’s position include Zalman Shazar, Ephraim, Yitzhak Navon, Chaim Herzog, Ezer Welzman and Moshe Katsav.