A week in the life of Israel’s busy first couple
The itinerary, below, represents only the formal duties of the first couple over five days this week.
SUNDAY 8 MAY, President Rivlin attend and addressed the ‘Islam in Zion’ Conference, dedicated to the memory of the President’s father Professor Yosef Yoel Rivlin and his contribution to academia and Hebrew culture. The conference is being held at the Ben Zvi Institute in Jerusalem.
At 1.30pm Rivlin met at his Jerusalem residence with Martin Luther King III, son of civil rights leader Dr. Marthin Luther King Jr.
RIGHT: Rivlin greets MLKIII – PIC courtesy President’s Office
Also attending were artist Idan Raichel, former MK (Member of Parliament, or Knesset) Pnina Tamano-Shata (the first Ethiopian-born female MK), and journalist Anat Saragusti, who are being recognised for their activism on behalf of Ethiopian Jewish immigrants to Israel (SEE STORY ELSEWHERE).
MONDAY 9 MAY saw the President with four official engagements. At 10h15 Rivlin met members of the Yad LeBanim association of the families of fallen soldiers of IDF and Security Forces. This was followed, at noon, with a formal meeting with Israel’s Christian Church leaders.
At 13h30 Rivlin held a working meeting with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders – the first part open to media and thereafter behind closed doors. On Monday evening the President then attended a reception marking Europe Day, hosted by the Ambassador of the EU to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen. At 19h15 Rivlin he addressed the reception.
TUESDAY 10 MAY sees another four formal events. President Rivlin will first welcome the 120 soldiers and officers of the IDF who will be rehearsing for the Independence Day ceremony due to take place at his Presidential Residence on Thursday. He will formally address them at 10h45. At 15h15 the President will lay a wreath and address the memorial ceremony for fighters of the Irgun (pre-Independence fighters) who fell in the battle for the village of Malha. The ceremony will be held at a school in Malha, Jerusalem.
After sunset, President Rivlin will formally open the national memorial ceremony for Israel’s Remembrance Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem at 20h00.
PIC: President Rivlin addresses Yom HaZikaron ceremony at the Kotel in 2015: “The struggle for our existence is still not a matter of choice,” he said
Also addressing the ceremony will be IDF Chief of Staff Lt General Gadi Eizenkot. This will be followed at 21h15 by the President and First Lady Rivlin participating in the ‘Singing in their memory’ memorial event at the Knesset.
WEDNESDAY 11 MAY is Yom HaZikaron, a solemn day. At 11h00 Rivlin will lay a wreath at the Remembrance Day ceremony at the military cemetery on Mount Herzl and attend the memorial ceremony that follows at 13h00.
THURSDAY 12 MAY, however, is anything but sombre. It is Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s 68th Independence Day. Ad a busy one indeed it will be for the first couple.
President & First Lady Rivlin will host the central Israel Independence Day celebrations. The event is a musical and cultural celebration marking the country’s aspirations for the future. The ceremony includes the traditional awarding of the Medal of Excellence to soldiers and officers of the IDF.
RIGHT: Israeli President and First Lady Reuven and Nechama Rivlin are known to be a very close couple
Also in attendance will be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defence Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot and other dignitaries and senior past and present political and military figures. The day also includes a reception for Ambassadors to Israel and other members of the diplomatic corps.
The day’s events will begin for Rivlin at 08h45 with a military fly-past, after which he, together with IDF Chief of Staff Eizenkot will review a guard of honour of 120 IDF soldiers and officers receiving the Medal of Excellence. Between 09h30 and 11h00 the main event takes place in the Presidential Garden.
Later, at 17h00, the Rivlins will host a reception for Ambassadors to Israel and members of the diplomatic corps in Israel to honour Israel’s Independence Day. At 19h30 President and First Lady Rivlin will participate in the 2016 Israel Prize award ceremony. The event will take place at the International Convention Centre (Binyanei HaUma) in Jerusalem.