The Israeli President
The Israeli presidency is largely a ceremonial role.
The staff of the President's Bureau includes a director-general, deputy director-general, aides and advisors on various matters (political, Diaspora, minorities), a military adjutant, a legal department (dealing primarily with clemency), a public inquiries department (public inquiries and welfare), and a maintenance department (operations and regular maintenance). The 50-member staff handles the routine operation of the residence, including services to past presidents.
Appointments: The legislature has empowered the president to appoint certain office holders, in order to emphasize their importance and autonomy. The largest and most important group of such officeholders comprises those in the judicial system. In accordance with the June, 1986, amendment to the Military Justice Law 5715-1955, the president also appoints military judges, formerly named by the military establishment.
Events at the president's residence: The president's residence is the scene of many different types of events, attended by thousands of visitors. Throughout the year, the president hosts groups, organizations, and institutions reflecting the full spectrum of life in Israel. They come to inform the president of their activities, successes, difficulties, and challenges, and to seek encouragement. These groups represent education, culture, development towns, rural agricultural settlements, industry, volunteer organizations, the arts, science, sports, immigrant absorption, re-attraction of emigrants, elimination of social disparities, minorities, economic and export promotion, and many others.
A number of ceremonies are held at the president's residence on a regular basis. These include the Independence Day reception for outstanding soldiers, Israel Defense Force (IDF) generals, and senior security personnel; ceremonies for the heads of foreign missions in Israel to mark Israel Independence Day and the Jewish and civil New Years; special receptions for the leaders of the Christian communities, who congratulate the president on the occasion of the Jewish New Year; and State receptions and events as required by protocol.
Ceremonies, Conferences, Encounters
The president is a frequent participant in opening ceremonies, conferences, encounters, mass meetings, memorial services, and national and international meetings and congresses throughout the country. He takes part in memorial services for IDF and security service dead and for victims of the Holocaust.
Open Houses: Over the years, since the tenure of the second president, Itzhak Ben-Zvi, the presidents of Israel have maintained the custom of opening their official residence to the general public during the Sukkot (Tabernacles) holiday in the early fall, receiving Israeli citizens and foreign tourists in the presidential sukkah.
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