Israel’s First Lady Nechama Rivlin passes away at 73

Israel's First Lady Nechama Rivlin passes away at 73

First Lady Nechama Rivlin, the wife of President Reuven Rivlin, died Tuesday at the age of 73, a day before her 74th birthday.

Nechama Rivlin, who had suffered from a pulmonary illness for years, underwent a lung transplant in March. She passed away at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva.

In a statement, President Rivlin thanked the hospital’s staff for their “dedicated, sensitive and professional treatment” they had given his wife over the past three months.

“The Rivlin family wishes to thank the people of Israel and religious leaders who have continued to be concerned about Nechama’s welfare, who have sent letters and children’s drawings to the hospital and the President’s Residence and who have prayed for her recovery every day, every hour.”

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he and his wife Sara offer their condolences for Rivlin’s death. “We’ve all prayed for her health during the recent period when she heroically fought for her life,” he added.

Rivlin was born on moshav Herut; her parents, Mendi and Drora Kayla Shulman, helped establish the community. Her mother, who had immigrated from Ukraine, was widowed when Rivlin was a young girl.

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Rivlin became a researcher at Hebrew University in 1967. Her initial role was in the Department of Zoology of the Hebrew University, and she later worked in the Department of Ecology, as well as in the Department of Genetics.

In 1971, Nechama married Reuven Rivlin. The couple has three children, Rivka, Anat, and Ran, as well as several grandchildren.

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In her role as Israel’s First Lady, she has concentrated on areas she is most familiar with through her academic work and family. One area of focus is nature and the environment. She has created a community garden and has begun a new recycling system. She has also been a vocal supporter of women and children.

“We are truly saddened by the loss of Nechama Rivlin, First Lady of Israel, who was like a mother to us all. Rest in Peace, Nechama”, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit tweeted.

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