Israel mourns ‘First Lady’ Nechama Rivlin

Nechama Rivlin, the wife of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, died of complications on June 4 following a lung transplant earlier this year after a long struggle with pulmonary fibrosis. She was 73.

The daughter of immigrants who farmed land on a moshav in pre-state Israel, Rivlin was highly respected from across the political spectrum and renown for her inclusive, warm and welcoming nature which helped mend rifts among the tapestry of ethnicities and social-economic divisions in Israeli society.

Rivlin was eulogized by Knesset members from every party, as well as countless friends and admirers.

Rivlin’s passing also elicited comment from a variety of Israeli columnists and writers, including Yediot Ahronot’s Nahum Barnea and Ravit Hecht of Ha’aretz.

In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said “Together with all citizens of Israel, my wife Sara and I express deep sorrow over the passing of Nechama Rivlin, the wife of President Reuven Rivlin. We all prayed for her recovery during the recent period in which she fought for her life heroically and with strength of spirit. We send our deepest heartfelt condolences to the president and all members of his family. May her memory be blessed.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein tweeted, “In my name and in the name of the Knesset, Knesset members and employees, I share the deep sorrow of my friend, President Reuven Rivlin and his family. With her special personality and her countenance, Nechama affected everyone who came into contact with her. She’ll be missed by us all.”