June 12, 2014 By

New Israeli Boss, a Hardliner, Unnerves Detractors



“Man of Jerusalem”, the hard-liner Reuven “Rubi” Rivlin, 74, was elected as the 10th president of Israel on Tuesday after a dramatic and loathsome campaign, voting and election. He will succeed veteran Israeli politician, Shimon Peres whose seven-year term ends next month. But Rivlin’s rapport with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a fellow Likud party member, is not that good. Rivlin’s victory is seen as Netanyahu’s defeat because he had tried several ways to block Rivlin’s entry first by recruiting someone else including Nobel peace laureate Elie Wiesel, who is not an Israeli citizen and then resorting to abolish the office of the president entirely. He also pushed for a delay in the election. But finally, Netanyahu said that the two of them would work in cooperation. Peres used his office for advocating peace with the Palestinians. But Rivlin has called for a confederation with the Palestinians rather than negotiating an independent state, something which the Palestinian leaders have long rejected.

The new Palestinian Unity government sworn in on June 2, after years of rivalry between the two Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, under a reconciliation deal to end the several years of rival administrations in the two territories, West Bank and Gaza, is another blow to Israel. US supported the move and Israel had reacted sharply calling it as “disappointing”. Netanyahu urged the world leaders not to “rush to recognise” the new government and added that Abbas and the new government would be held responsible for any rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. Israel also said it would cease all but security co-ordination with the Palestinians if the government was formed.

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