Israel’s 10th president, Reuven Rivlin, took the oath of office in a small ceremony at the Knesset on Thursday evening, while fighting continued between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Due to the ongoing Operation Protective Edge in Gaza and the dozens of Israeli civilian and military casualties, Rivlin and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein decided to limit the guard of honor and to cancel the cocktail party in the Chagall State Hall, which traditionally follows the swearing-in.
Rivlin will begin his term on Monday, but the ceremony was brought forward so it would not be held during the first days of the Hebrew month of Av, a traditional time of mourning.
The guests of honor at Thursday’s ceremony were mayors and local council heads from areas bordering the Gaza Strip. Contrary to normal protocol, they sat in the plenum hall itself, alongside Knesset members.
Knesset Members of Arab parties did not attend the ceremony. They announced that they were boycotting the official event not in protest of Rivlin personally, but of the fighting between Israel and the Gaza Strip, and the deaths of Palestinian civilians there.
After Rivlin was sworn in, two shofars was blown…