Am I sorry to see Shimon Peres leave the presidency of Israel?
According to (non-reliable) media surveys, I am among a small percentage of the Israeli public who, given the chance, would not have voted for Peres for president.
Leaving office with the nation at war holds a measure of irony for the peace-loving Peres. The red alert warning flashed during the inaugural speeches attested to the failed process Peres had consistently pushed on Israel. Even an iron dome could not save us from his delusions.
Peres warned us years ago that “the peace train is leaving the station,” and that if we didn’t jump onwe’d be left behind on the platform. Watching our president leave officestill believing strongly in a two-state solution, while rockets were being launched at Jewish settlements surrounding Aza, bordered on the absurd.
Dozens of young soldiers killed and many more wounded and maimed: this is the final remnant of this process; his legacy to families mourning their loved ones, to soldiers in the field, to settlements that have been bombarded for decades, citizens removed from their homes, territory uprooted, all on the altar of an unworkable peace.
So where does that lead our nation?
It leads to a new era, a new president, and a new form of representing Israel.
As we mourn the destruction of Jerusalem and the holy Temple, President Rivlin agreed to a suggestion that the swearing-in ceremony should not be held during the first nine days of the month of Av, so the date was moved to the 28th of Tammuz(July 24).
When it became clear we were in the midst of a major military operation, Rivlin asked that the ceremony be simple, without the standard gala reception and jubilation attached to presidential inaugurations. An 8th-generation Jerusalemite who remembers a Jerusalem where people were once starving, he understands the meaning of modesty, an essential quality for every aspect of public life including the presidency of Israel
Listening to the inaugural address was uplifting, beginning with our new president’s recitation of a Yom Kippur tefillah – Heye Im pifiyot, Hashem be with the mouths of the messengers of your people Israel – and a berachah of Shehecheyanu as he assumed his new post. Shofarot and long-stemmed trumpets blasted in unison, symbolic of repentance.
The president’s message was one of living peacefully in a Jewish and democratic state, Jews of all stripes unified as brothers, with Arabs or citizens of other religions. No mention of two-state solutions. He spoke of his father’s legacy, of listening, of honoring all people under one banner in the Jewish state of Israel.
President Rivlin is our tenth president – the tenth man, like one who is needed for a minyan. Only when the tenth man joins can the real service begin, be it in a synagogue or in the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.
May our new president bring us the victory we pursue over our enemies who are shooting from above, below, and across our borders. And may we proclaim in one voiceourgratitude to the Almighty for daily miracles, seeking peace as one nation living on our God-given land.
Long Live President Reuven Rivlin.
About the Author: Faigie Heiman is an accomplished short-story and essay writer and the author of a popular memoir titled “Girl For Sale.” Born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, she has lived in Israel for more than fifty years.
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