The Israeli President
The Israeli presidency is largely a ceremonial role.
Public Petitions: Thousands of citizens from all walks of life present the president and his wife with petitions concerning diverse personal matters and their relations with public institutions. These citizens view the institution of the presidency and its incumbent as an appropriate address for resolving their problems. Normally these petitions express not only their writers' distress but also their faith in the president and his ability to help them. Most such applications are presented by citizens who have exhausted conventional channels.
President's Fund: The major instrument available to the President for providing financial assistance to some of the many citizens who turn to him in dire straits, frequently as the symbol of the State's responsibility for well-being, is the President's Fund. Established during the tenure of the second President, Itzhak Ben-Zvi, it was elevated to the status of a charitable trust by the fourth President, Prof. Ephraim Katzir, in 1973. The Fund's activities cover the entire country and have affected many localities. It has helped thousands of families and individuals solve their problems and has promoted and supported many social, medical, cultural, and educational endeavors. Individuals receive assistance from the Fund only after scrutiny of their socioeconomic status and on recommendation of the responsible professional agencies.
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