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(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 11, 2015 Israel's First Lady Nechama Rivlin waits for guests during a reception line at the presidential Bellevue Palace in Berlin. - Israel's first lady Nechama Rivlin died on June 4, 2019 at the age of 73, the president's office said in an official statement. (Photo by ADAM BERRY / AFP)

Nechama Rivlin: Wife Of Israeli President Dies At 73

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Nechama Rivlin, the wife of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, died on Tuesday, 4th June 2019, at 73 a few months after a lung transplant.


Rivlin, whose formal title was Israel’s first lady, underwent the lung transplant in March due to the pulmonary fibrosis that afflicted her in recent years, a statement said.


In Israel, the presidency is largely ceremonial and executive power rests with the prime minister, but her death led to an outpouring of grief from across the political spectrum.


She regularly appeared alongside her husband at ceremonies and events in recent years despite having to use a portable oxygen tank due to her condition.


November 15, 2016. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (L) watches as his wife Nechama Rivlin sprinkle rose petals while paying tribute at the Rajghat memorial for Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi. Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP


“We all prayed for her health,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has often been at odds with the president, said in a statement.


“We send condolences from the bottom of our heart to the president and all his family.”


Senior Labour lawmaker Shelly Yechimovich called her “smart, funny, vital and extraordinarily modest.”


“Nehama was much more than the president’s beloved wife,” she wrote on Twitter.


Born in the Sharon region in central Israel to immigrants from Ukraine, she studied natural sciences at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where she worked as a researcher.


She married Reuven Rivlin in 1971 and had three children and seven grandchildren.


Source: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

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