First lady of Israel, Nechama Rivlin, wife of Israel’s president, dies at 73

Nehama Rivlin passed away at 73 on Tuesday after a battle with lung disease.

By World Israel News Staff

Nehama Rivlin, wife of President Reuven Rivlin, and first lady of Israel, died today at the age of 73, a day before her birthday. She suffered from lung disease in recent years. She passed away at Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikva, near Tel Aviv.

President Rivlin thanked the hospital for its “dedicated, sensitive and professional treatment,”

“Unfortunately, all the doctors’ efforts to stabilize her during the complex rehabilitation process that followed her transplant failed,” hospital officials said.

“The medical teams of the chest, lung, cardiology and intensive care units did not leave Mrs. Rivlin’s bed the whole time… This is a sad day for all of us at the medical center. The hospital staff is mourning,” the staff said.

Mrs. Rivlin underwent a lung transplant in March, which was only partially successful in that cardiac complications left her with a shortness of breath.

She was popular with the Israeli public. “People loved me a great deal. I don’t know why,” she said in a radio interview last year, inadvertently revealing part of her charm.

Mrs. Rivlin was born in 1945 in Moshav Herut. Her father died when she was five and her mother was left to work the farm. “I remember her working hard and fighting like a lioness for the right to work the land, despite the objective difficulties entailed in choosing such a demanding way of life. She never sank into debt – no small feat in a cooperative farming settlement,” Rivlin wrote in Haaretz in 2016.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology and zoology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem before meeting her husband, Reuven Rivlin, who later became president.