Today in history: presidents of Israel

Today in 1949, Chaim Weizmann was appointed as the first president of the State of Israel.

With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Provisional State Council decided to appoint a representative president to head the state, but with very few powers – fearing harm to democracy. At the end of the War of Independence, Chaim Weizmann was elected president of the former Zionist Organization. Weizmann was a biochemist who became a Zionist activist in the early 20th century and had a huge influence on the publication of the Balfour Declaration and the establishment of the British Mandate. Weizmann’s health was poor when he took office (he was half blind), and he died 3 and a half years later, while in office. The powers of the President of the State were determined by law only in 1964 (pardoning prisoners, imposing on a candidate to form a government, making donations abroad), and his term of office was later set for 7 years. To date, 11 people have been elected, of whom only Efraim Katzir was not politically involved before his term (Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Ruby Rivlin, Shimon Peres, and Zalman Shazar were involved to the neck), and only Yitzhak Navon returned to politics after his term ended. 2 of the presidents were in legal trouble before the end of their term – Ezer Weizmann for financial issues, and Moshe Katsav for sexual offenses. The current president, Isaac Herzog, is the son of the sixth president, Haim Herzog.

Photo Source: Wikipedia

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