Past Presidents of Israel

All of Israel’s presidents throughout history reached the President’s Residence after many years of work for the sake of Israel’s state and society, in a wide array of fields. For successive presidents, their professional and public backgrounds shaped the fields of endeavor that they chose to focus on and promote in realizing their presidential visions. These are the stories of President Isaac Herzog’s ten predecessors.

The First President: Chaim Weizmann

Born: November 27, 1874
Presidency: 1949-1952
Death: November 9, 1952

Chaim Weizmann was born in the village of Motal in White Russia (Belarus), the third of fifteen children. As a boy, he studied in Pinsk and excelled in Chemistry. When he was eighteen, he went to study in Germany, where he joined the society of Jewish Zionist students from Russia. At the age of twenty-four, he moved to Fribourg in Switzerland, and a year later, he received his doctorate in Chemistry. From then on, Weizmann divided his time between scientific research and Zionist activism.

Chaim Weizmann

Credit: Hans Pinn, GPO

In 1904, Weizmann married Vera Chatzman, a medical student. The same year, the newlywed couple immigrated to Britain, where Dr. Weizmann worked as a senior lecturer at the University of Manchester. In 1907, Dr. Weizmann first visited the Land of Israel, and in 1910, he received British citizenship.

Dr. Weizmann became actively involved in the Zionist movement almost from its inception. In 1903, when the Zionist movement split over the Uganda Scheme, Weizmann was among the plan’s opponents. After Herzl’s death, Weizmann lead the Synthetic Zionist movement (which combined political and practical Zionism), which would set the tone for the World Zionist Organization.

Thanks to his connections with British politicians and contributions to the British war effort in the First World War, Weizmann had a formative influence on the diplomatic endeavors that would lead to the Balfour Declaration in 1917. Earlier that year, Dr. Weizmann was elected the president of the British Zionist Federation. In 1918, he met Emir Faisal, and the two men would later sign the Faisal-Weizmann agreement, which promised Arab recognition for Zionism but was never implemented.

Weizmann’s activities made him a central figure in the life of the Jewish community and the Zionist movement. In 1918, he was appointed the chairman of the Zionist Commission for Palestine, which was sent by the British Government to recommend ways to implement the Balfour Declaration and advance the settlement and development of the land.

In 1920, Dr. Weizmann was elected the president of the World Zionist Organization, a role that he would hold almost continuously until 1946, and in which capacity he would maintain intimate ties with the British Government. He became one of the most recognizable faces and central leaders of the Zionist movement around the world. During his tenure, he founded the expanded Jewish Agency (1929), which worked to bring together both Zionist and non-Zionist Jews for collective action, and he was also among the founders of Keren Hayesod (1920), which served as the main fundraising body for the Zionist enterprise in the Land of Israel.

In addition to his public activities, Weizmann was also involved in the early stages of his career in sweeping scientific research that produced considerable new innovations. Among them was Weizmann’s invention of a new method for the production of acetone from maize, which formed the basis for the new emergency industry that helped the British war effort in the First World War, given the shortage of acetone, a vital component in the manufacture of explosives. This invention also strengthened Weizmann’s reputation among the British leadership and his connections with key figures, including Minister of Munitions David Lloyd-George and the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill. These connections helped Dr. Weizmann advance his Zionist activism.

During these years, Weizmann registered dozens of patents, the income from which allowed him to forgo a salary from the Zionist movement. During the Second World War, he assisted the British war effort as a scientist.

In 1934, when Weizmann was sixty years old, he and his wife decided to build their home in Rehovot. Chaim and Vera Weizmann had two sons. In 1942, during the Second World War, their younger son, Michael, was killed in action as a pilot in the Royal Air Force.

At Weizmann’s initiative, and with a donation from the Ziv family, the Daniel Ziv Research Institute. In honor of Chaim Weizmann’s 75th birthday, in 1949, the institute was expanded and reinaugurated as the Weizmann Institute of Science.

From 1937 onward, Weizmann supported the idea of a partition and the establishment of two separate states, for Jews and Arabs. His insistence on a policy of moderation toward the British Government, based on the belief that only through Britain could a Jewish national home be established in the Land of Israel, led to disagreements with David Ben-Gurion, the chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive at the time.

After the U.N. General Assembly’s decision to partition the Land of Israel, Dr. Weizmann was sent to the United States at the end of January 1948 to convince President Harry Truman to support the establishment of a Jewish state and recognize it upon its independence. His meetings with President Truman and his relationship with him contributed to Truman’s immediate recognition of the State of Israel when it declared independence and to the inclusion of the Negev in the nation’s borders. On the eve of the declaration of independence, Dr. Weizmann demanded that the Zionist Executive declare independence immediately, despite the pressure the U.S. State Department was applying to reject the declaration.

On May 16, 1948, two days after Israel declared independence, Chaim Weizmann was elected the President of the Provisional State Council of Israel. On February 17, 1949, after Israel’s first general elections, the First Knesset elected Chaim Weizmann as the President of Israel.

Chaim Weizmann passed away on November 9, 1952. In accordance with his will, he was buried in the gardens of his home in Rehovot.

First Lady Dr. Vera Weizmann, wife of the First President

Vera Weizmann (née Chatzman) was born in 1881 in the town of Rostov-on-Don to an assimilated Jewish family. She gained her medical education in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1904, she married Dr. Chaim Weizmann. In 1913, she received a medical license in England and worked as a doctor at clinics for infants. In 1916 she abandoned her medical career and devoted herself to Zionist activism. In 1920, she co-founded WIZO, the Women’s International Zionist Organization. Dr. Weizmann was actively involved in the Youth Aliyah movement and founded the Association of the War of Independence Handicapped Veterans, which would form the basis for the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization.

Dr. Vera Weizmann passed away in 1966 and was buried next to her husband in Rehovot.

The Second President: Yitzhak Ben-Zvi

Birth: November 24, 1884
Presidency: 1952-1963
Death: April 23, 1963

Yitzhak Ben-Zvi (né Shimshelevich) was born in Poltava, Ukraine, in 1884, the eldest son of Zionist activist and writer Zvi Shimshi (Shimshelevich) and his wife Devorah.

Yitzhak Ben-Zvi

Credit: Fritz Cohen, GPO

In 1906, on his way to the Land of Israel, Ben-Zvi was among the founders of the Poale Zion movement. After making aliyah in 1907, he co-founded the Hashomer and Bar Giora organizations. He was active in the Poale Zion Party and was involved in the formation of the World Union of Poale Zion. In 1909, together with Rachel Yanait and others, he founded the Hebrew Gymnasium in Jerusalem, where he also taught. In 1912-1914, he studied law in Constantinople (Istanbul). One of his fellow students was David Ben-Gurion. With the outbreak of the First World War, the two men returned to the Land of Israel.

In 1915, Ben-Zvi and Ben-Gurion were expelled from the Land of Israel by the Turkish authorities. During their exile in New York, they founded the HeHalutz movement in the United States and Canada, enlisted in the British Army’s Jewish Legion , and worked to encourage more to enlist. In 1918, they returned to the Land of Israel, and Ben-Zvi married Rachel Yanait. The couple had two sons: Amram and Eli. Their younger son, Eli, was killed in the War of Independence defending his kibbutz, Beit Keshet.

It was during these years that Ben-Zvi began his extensive studies of the Land of Israel and the Jewish People. In 1910, he joined the editorial staff of Ha-Achdut, Poale Zion’s party newspaper. Among his colleagues were Yosef Haim Brenner, David Ben-Gurion, and Rachel Yanait. Together with Ben-Gurion, Ben-Zvi wrote Eretz Israel—Past and Present, which was published in Yiddish and sold thousands of copies, strengthening the connection between American Jewry and the Land of Israel.

In the following years, Ben-Zvi was involved in the establishment of the Ahdut HaAvoda Party and was elected to its central committee. He was also involved in the establishment of the Histadrut, the General Organization of Workers in Israel, and was appointed to the ??? , and was elected to the first session of the Assembly of Representatives and to the leadership of the Jewish National Council, later serving as its president.

In 1920-1927, Ben-Zvi was actively involved in the Histadrut secretariat in Jerusalem, and in 1927, he was first elected a member of the Jerusalem City Council. In 1944, he was elected the president of the Jewish National Council, and in 1947 , he founded the Institute for the Study of Oriental Jewish Communities in the Middle East.

When Israel was formally established, Ben-Zvi was among the signatories of the Declaration of Independence. In 1949-1952, he served as a member of the Knesset for the Mapai party. After the death of the First President, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, Ben-Zvi was elected president of the State of Israel. He served two full consecutive terms and was the only president to be elected to a third term.

In tandem with his public and national activities, Ben-Zvi researched the history of the Samaritan community and advanced the construction of a neighborhood for its members in Holon. Another of Ben-Zvi’s fields of endeavor was the study of the Jewish communities of the Middle East. As part of his research, Ben-Zvi visited several communities and helped to bring the Aleppo Codex to Israel. Together with Meir Benayahu, he founded the Ben-Zvi Institute for the Study of the Land of Israel and Oriental Jewish Communities in the Middle East, issues that were close to his heart.

On April 23, 1963 (29 Nissan 5723), at the start of his third presidential term, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi passed away in Jerusalem. At his request, he was buried in an ordinary grave at the Har HaMenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem.

First Lady Rachel Yanait Ben-Zvi

Rachel Yanait Ben-Zvi was born in Malyn, Ukraine, in 1886. She made aliyah in 1908, settled in Jerusalem, and married Yitzhak Ben-Zvi in 1918. After making aliyah, she co-founded the Hebrew Gymnasium in Jerusalem and Magen David Adom, later becoming one of the Haganah’s first activists in Jerusalem. Numerous educational institutions were founded under Rachel Yanait’s leadership, including the Educational Farm in Jerusalem and the Ein Karem youth village, which she also managed.

Upon her husband’s election to the Presidency, Rachel Yanait Ben-Zvi worked to transform the President’s Residence into an institution that would symbolize the unity of Israel’s tribes, including in her decision to establish the residence in a large cabin, which would symbolize the period of mass aliyah, as opposed to an opulent building. She also worked to establish the tradition of receiving the public at the President’s Residence during Sukkot and to establish the President’s Residence Trust for the Establishment of Libraries in Immigrant Communities.

In 1963, after her husband’s death, she committed herself to establishing the Yad Ben-Zvi Institute, where she continued working until her death in 1979. A branch of the Yad Ben-Zvi Institute bearing her name operates out of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem: the Rachel Yanait Ben-Zvi Youth Center for Jerusalem Studies. In 1978, she was awarded the Israel Prize lifetime achievement award for her special contributions to Israel’s society and state.

Rachel Yanait Ben-Zvi passed away on November 16, 1979.

The Third President: Zalman Shazar

Born: November 24, 1889
Presidency: 1963-1973
Death: October 10, 1974

Zalman Shazar, born to a family of Chabad-Hasidic rabbis, was born Shneur Zalman Rubashov in 1889 in the town of Mir in Belarus and spent his childhood in the town of Stowbsky. He later changed his surname to Shazar, an acronym of the Hebrew initials of his full name.

Zalman Shazar

Credit: Fritz Cohen, GPO

In 1905, Shazar joined the Poale Zion movement and became active in organizing Jewish self-defense groups in White Russia and Ukraine. He conducted his first visit to the Land of Israel in 1911, during which he met the poetess Rachel and Berl Katznelson.

As a young man, Shazar arrived in Vilnius, where he worked translating articles by Dov Ber Borochov and Yitzhak Ben-Zvi from Russian into Yiddish. In 1907-1911, he studied at the Academy of Jewish Studies in Saint Petersburg. In 1912, Shazar left Russia and went to study in Germany, where he also worked by editing newspapers and organizing Zionist activism for a whole decade. During his studies, he focused on the history of the Jewish People in Eastern Europe, biblical criticism, and the history of the evolution of the Yiddish language. He also helped to edit the German Zionist newspaper Jüdische Rundschau. In 1920, he married Rachel Katznelson.

At the Thirteenth Zionist Congress, in 1923, Shazar was elected to the Zionist General Council. Around a year later, when he made aliyah to the Land of Israel, he started working in the labor movement and the Zionist Organization: he was a member of the executive committees of the Histadrut and the Jewish National Council, served as a member of the editorial staff of the Davar newspaper, and was its editor-in-chief in 1944-1949. He also represented the Zionist movement in public diplomacy campaigns in Europe and the United States. Shazar published hundreds of articles, notes, and poems.

Shazar was among the signatories of the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel, and after the establishment of the state, he was elected a member of the First Knesset, after which he also served in the Second and Third Knesset. In the first government of Israel, Shazar served as the minister of education and culture. In this capacity, he introduced the Compulsory Education Law. After resigning from the government, he joined the Jewish Agency Executive, serving there in various roles.

In 1963, Shazar was elected the Third President of the State of Israel. He served in the role for over ten years. Shazar was the first occupant of the current President’s Residence. He opened the residence to scholars, writers, and artists. In addition to his formal roles, Shazar hosted Bible study sessions at the President’s Residence and founded a study group to discuss the problems of the Jewish People.

Shazar passed away in Jerusalem on October 5, 1974 (19 Tishrei 5735) and was buried in the Great Leaders of the Nation’s Plot on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. The Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History bears his name.

First Lady Rachel Shazar, wife of the Third President

Rachel Shazar (née Katznelson) was born in Babruysk, Belorussia, in 1885. She met Zalman Shazar during her studies at the Academy for Jewish Studies in Saint Petersburg, and in 1920, they were married. Throughout her life, she worked in three main fields: the advancement of women, encouraging education and culture, and literary criticism.

In 1915, Rachel Shazar was among the founders of the Women Workers’ Organization in the Galilee. As a member of the movement, she saw supreme value in fostering self-expression among working women and advancing their Hebrew education. In this capacity, she founded the Dvar HaPoelet journal, which provided a stage for self-expression and the discovery and cultivation of women’s literary abilities, and she edited the publication for twenty-five years. In recognition of her work for women’s advancement, she was awarded the Israel Prize in 1958.

Rachel Shazar remained active in the field of literary criticism and published two books (Essays and Notes and On Hebrew Soil), which were anthologies of select essays and notes she had published over the years.

After her husband’s election as the Third President, Rachel Shazar worked to expand and deepen the state’s ties with women’s organizations in Israel and around the world, to increase assistance to organizations that helped the disabled and the needy, and to cultivate writers and artists.

Rachel Shazar passed away in 1975 and was buried in the Great Leaders of the Nation’s Plot on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, next to her husband.

The Fourth President: Ephraim Katzir

Birth: May 16, 1916
Presidency: 1973-1978
Death: May 30, 2009

Ephraim Katzir (né Katchalski) was born in Kyiv in 1916. When he was nine years old, he made aliyah with his family to Jerusalem. Following in the footsteps of his eldest brother, Aharon, he completed his high school studies at the Rehavia Gymnasium in Jerusalem and enrolled in a biology degree at the Hebrew University in 1932. During their studies, the brothers moved one after the other to the chemistry department, which opened at the university in the mid-1930s. In 1938, Katzir received an MSc in natural sciences, and three years later received his PhD. He was appointed an assistant professor and began his scientific research.

Ephraim Katzir

Credit: Moshe Milner, GPO

Parallel to his university studies, Katzir was a counselor in the Noar HaOved youth movement and an active member of the Haganah. In 1939, he graduated from the Haganah’s first officers’ course and later became the commander of the student unit in the field forces (Hish). Katzir was involved in various attempts by the organization to develop new explosives and weapons. When the State of Israel was founded, in May 1948, he was appointed the commander of the IDF Science Corps.

In tandem with his academic and research endeavors, which made him a scientist of global repute, Professor Katzir was active in public affairs: he was a senior advisor to ministers of defense and the security establishment, and in 1966-1968 served as its chief scientist, in which capacity he oversaw Israel’s military research and development. It was during this period that Israel instituted many scientific and technological innovations that contributed greatly to the nation’s security and also influenced the development of its civilian industry.

In 1966-1969, Professor Katzir headed the government research committee appointed by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. The committee’s recommendations included the appointment of chief scientists in the various government ministries. The adoption of this recommendation boosted cooperation between the government, academia, industry, and the agricultural sector, leading as a result to a significant increase in government R&D budgets and scientific activity in the Israeli economy.

Professor Katzir was among the founders of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. He founded its biophysics laboratory, which he headed until his election as president. He initiated and directed important scientific studies, and some of Israel’s most important scientists were among his students. His work in developing amino acid polymers as models of natural proteins contributed greatly to our understanding of the biology, chemistry, and physics of proteins. This work also contributed to decoding the genome, understanding immune responses, and developing various medicines and synthetic materials. His scientific endeavors earned him a series of prestigious awards, including the Israel Prize, the Japan Prize, and the Rothschild Prize.

Katzir was involved in various activities in the field of scientific education, founded the journal Mada (“Science”), headed the Israeli Association for the Promotion of Science, and was among the leading figures in developing clubs and societies for youth interested in science.

Ephraim Katzir was elected the Fourth President of Israel in the spring of 1973 and entered office on May 24 that year. Around four months later, the Yom Kippur War erupted. During and after the war, Katzir frequently toured the frontlines, met soldiers, and visited bereaved families and wounded troops. In November 1977, Katzir was the official host of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat during his historic visit to Jerusalem.

During Katzir’s presidency, the Israeli Award for Volunteering was established, and the prize is awarded every year to individuals and organizations engaged in significant volunteering activity.

Katzir was married to Nina Katzir, an educator and English teacher. They had one son and two daughters, both of whom passed away at a young age. Katzir’s brother, Aharon Katzir, who was also one of Israel’s leading scientists, was killed in a terror attack at Ben-Gurion Airport in 1972.

After his presidency, Professor Katzir returned to his scientific endeavors. At his initiative, Tel Aviv University opened a biotechnology department, which he headed for a few years. In 1988, Katzir headed the National Biotechnology Commission, on the recommendations of which the government started cultivating a biotechnology industry. He also served as the world president of the ORT network of vocational and technological schools, supported the establishment of several colleges, and continued to advise various government figures.

Ephraim Katzir passed away on May 30, 2009, at the age of ninety-three, and was buried, as he requested in his will, in Rehovot.

First Lady Nina Katzir, wife of the Fourth President

Nina Katzir (née Gottlieb) was born in Poland . Katzir was an English teacher, who developed a special method for teaching the language and published a regular column in the Jerusalem Post.

As the first lady, Mrs. Katzir organized regular meetings between children’s authors and children at the President’s Residence. She also spearheaded the establishment of International Children’s Week in Israel, which became a tradition. Nina Katzir passed away in 1986.

The Fifth President: Yitzhak Navon

Birth: April 9, 1921
Presidency: 1978-1983
Death: November 6, 2015

Yitzhak Navon was born in Jerusalem on the first of Nissan in 5681 (1921) to a veteran Jerusalemite family. He was descended on his father’s side from Jews expelled from Spain, who arrived in Jerusalem through Turkey in 1670, and on his mother Miriam’s side, from the ibn Attar family of Morocco, who reached Jerusalem in 1884.

Yitzhak Navon

Credit: Moshe Milner, GPO

In 1963, he married Ofir a Erez, a psychologist. They had two children.

During the War of Independence, Navon headed the Haganah’s Arab Intelligence Unit in Jerusalem. When the war ended, he served as a second secretary at Israel’s diplomatic missions in Argentina and Uruguay. In 1951, he served as Foreign Minister Moshe Sharrett’s secretary, and in 1952-1963, he served as the bureau chief of two prime ministers: Moshe Sharett and David Ben-Gurion.

Navon, a graduate of the Hebrew University’s pedagogy, Arabic and Islamic studies, Hebrew language, and Hebrew literature programs, served as the head of the culture department at the Ministry of Education and Culture. In this capacity, he spearheaded Operation Eradicating Ignorance, which aimed to provide an education to adults. In 1965-1978, he served as a member of the Knesset, initially for Rafi and then, following Rafi’s merger with Ahdut HaAvodah and Mapai, for Labor. During his Knesset career, he served as a temporary speaker of the Knesset, deputy speaker of the Knesset, and chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. He also served as the chairman of the Zionist General Council.

In 1978, Navon was elected the Fifth President of the State of Israel. During his presidency, he regularly toured the country, visiting its cities, neighborhoods, labor settlements, development towns, and minority communities, and gaining immense public popularity. His term as president was characterized by political, social, and ethnic tensions in Israel and also saw the outbreak of Operation Peace for Galilee. Following the Christian Phalangist militia’s massacre in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, Navon demanded the establishment of an official commission of inquiry to investigate the circumstances of the massacre—a demand that led to the establishment of the Kahan Commission.

As President, Navon worked to build bridges between communities in Israel, between religious and secular Israelis, Arabs and Jews, and members of the periphery and the center of the country, and he strove to reduce the tensions in the air during the evacuation of the Israeli settlements in the Sinai, as required by the peace treaty with Egypt. In 1980, Anwar Sadat hosted him for an impressive state visit to Egypt.

Navon’s presidency ended in 1983, and a year later he returned to political life and served as the deputy prime minister and minister of education and culture, and as a member of Knesset for the Labor Party. As the minister of culture and education, Navon led the “Culture Basket” project, strengthened Arabic-language studies and education about the heritage of Middle Eastern Jews, and worked to deepen education promoting democracy and coexistence between Jews and Arabs.

Yitzhak Navon was also a respected author and playwright, who produced several works about Sephardic heritage: Romancero Sefaradi, a concert of liturgical and secular songs first staged in 1968, and Bustan Sefaradi, about the life of a Sephardic family in Jerusalem, which was a huge success with Israeli audiences. Navon also penned many stories about life in Jerusalem and wrote and narrated a television documentary series called Jerusalem in Spain about the history of the Jews in the Iberian Peninsula. He also published an anthology of essays about David Ben-Gurion.

Yitzhak Navon passed away in November 2015 at the age of ninety-four. He was buried in the Great Leaders of the Nation’s Plot on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

First Lady Ofira Navon, wife of the Fifth President

Ofir a Navon (née Erez) was born in 1936 in Tel Aviv. Her parents, Batya and Eliezer Resnikov , were “Prisoners of Zion ” in Russia. Navon held an MA in education and psychology and specialized in rehabilitation psychology at Columbia University. For many years, she devoted herself to working with Beit Micha (the Multidisciplinary Center for Children with Hearing Loss) and the ALYN Hospital (a rehabilitation center for children and adolescents).

Ofira Navon brought her areas of expertise to bear during her husband’s presidency. She worked to help children in distress and actively supported associations for children’s welfare. Mrs. Navon founded the President’s Residence Assembly for Children’s Welfare and the I Care Foundation, which led projects in the fields of education and welfare. Ofira Navon was also active in promoting the advancement of women and served as the president of UNICEF in Israel and as the chairwoman of the umbrella group of disability organizations in Israel. Together with the first ladies of Egypt and the United States, Navon was awarded a special certificate of appreciation in recognition of her work to support children in disaster zones.

Ofira Navon publicly revealed that was sick with cancer and spoke openly about her battle with the disease. Her brave battle served as an inspiration for many patients. She died in 1993 from complications connected with her cancer and was buried in the Great Leaders of the Nation’s Plot in Jerusalem. She was fifty-seven years old.

The Sixth President: Chaim Herzog

Birth: September 17, 1918
Presidency: 1983-1993
Death: April 17, 1997

Chaim Herzog was born in 1918 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His father, Rabbi Yitzhak Isaac Halevi Herzog, served as the Chief Rabbi of Ireland and would later serve as the Chief Rabbi of the Land of Israel and the first Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel. His mother was Rabbanit Sarah Herzog (née Hillman).

Chaim Herzog

Credit: Nati Harnik, GPO

Herzog made aliyah in 1935, studied at the Mercaz HaRav and Hebron yeshivas, and enlisted in the Haganah a year later. In 1938, he went to England to study law. When he completed his studies, he volunteered to join the British Army in 1942 and went through officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. During the Second World War, he served as an intelligence officer, participated in the Normandy landings, and was among the first forces to enter Nazi Germany. Herzog participated in the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, and played a role, as an intelligence officer, in the interrogation of Heinrich Himmler.

Following his discharge from the British Army, in 1947, Herzog returned to the Land of Israel and joined the intelligence unit of the Haganah. He served in various intelligence roles and headed the security department at the Jewish Agency. After Israel’s declaration of independence and the establishment of the IDF, he joined the Israeli military and served in both command and control roles. During the War of Independence, he served as the operations and intelligence officer of the 7th Armored Brigade and took part in the battles to open the road to Jerusalem. In July 1948, David Ben-Gurion charged him with establishing the military’s intelligence unit.

Herzog married Aura Ambache in 1947. The couple had four children: Michael (Mike), Israel’s current ambassador to the United States; Isaac (Bougie), the president of Israel; Joel, and Ronit.

In 1950-1954, Herzog served as Israel’s military attaché in the United States. On his return to Israel, he served as the commander of the Jerusalem Brigade (1954-157) and then of the Southern Command (1957-1959). In 1959, he was appointed the head of military intelligence for the second time. He retired from military service in 1962, at the rank of major-general.

Upon his discharge from the IDF, Herzog managed companies, served as a director in commercial corporations, headed the World ORT network of schools, and chaired the board of directors of Keter Publishing. In 1972, he co-founded the Herzog Fox & Neeman law firm.

During the waiting period before the outbreak of the Six-Day War, Herzog broadcast daily commentaries on Kol Israel Radio. These conversations bolstered the Israeli public’s spirit and confidence. His broadcasts enjoyed a wide audience on the home front and among troops, giving him a name and credibility among the Israeli public. After the war, Herzog was appointed the first military governor of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem). In the Yom Kippur War, he served again in a public diplomacy capacity on the radio and on television.

In 1975, Herzog was appointed Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations and stood on the frontlines of Israeli diplomacy. During his tenure at the United Nations, Israel came under ferocious assault, which reached its zenith with the U.N. General Assembly’s decision to declare Zionism a form of racism. After the vote, Herzog delivered an unforgettable speech at the United Nations on November 10, 1975 (the anniversary of Kristallnacht), in which he ripped up a copy of the resolution. His speech made shockwaves around the whole world.

In 1965, Herzog was a partner in the establishment of the Rafi Party, and in 1981 he was elected a member of the Tenth Knesset for the Labor Party, where he served for two years, until his election as president.

In 1983, Herzog was elected the Sixth President of the State of Israel. After five years, he was reelected with overwhelming support for a second term.

During the Herzog Presidency, there were six changes of government and four prime ministers (Begin, Shamir, Peres, and Rabin). After the elections to the Eleventh Knesset in 1984, Herzog worked to create a national unity government with a rotation arrangement between Labor and the Likud. In 1986, Herzog granted a controversial pardon to the figures involved in the Bus 300 affair, even before charges were served. In 1987, Herzog became the first Israeli president to conduct a state visit to Germany, and in the same year, he became the first to conduct a state visit to the United States, at the invitation of President Ronald Reagan.

Herzog wrote numerous books and articles in the fields of history, military analysis, and political and public affairs. His books were published in Israel and around the world and were translated into many languages. Before his death, he was able to complete his autobiography: Living History: A Memoir. Over the years, Herzog combined extensive public service, performing a series of senior military, diplomatic, and political roles, with private work as a lawyer, historian, and commentator.

Chaim Herzog passed away in 1997 and was buried in the Great Leaders of the Nation’s Plot in Jerusalem.

First Lady Aura Herzog, wife of the Sixth President

Aura Herzog (née Ambache) was born in Egypt in 1928 to parents born in the Land of Israel. After earning a BA in mathematics and physics at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, she rejoined her family in the Land of Israel and studied at the Jewish Agency’s Diplomatic School. Herzog enlisted in the Haganah and served as an officer in the Science Corps during the War of Independence. She was injured in a bomb attack at the Jewish Agency building in Jerusalem in March 1948.

In 1947, Aura married Chaim Herzog and stood by his side in his many public roles. She was actively involved in the world of culture, spearheaded the International Bible Contest, headed the committee that organized Israel’s tenth-anniversary celebrations, and was a member of the Council for Arts and Culture. As the first lady, Aura Herzog placed an emphasis on promoting values connected with the quality of life and the environment, and she worked through the Council for a Beautiful Israel, which she founded and headed before and after her husband’s tenure as president. In this capacity, she held beauty contests in towns, factories, educational institutions, and places suffering neglect and distress. Aura Herzog wrote the first book about manners and etiquette in Hebrew (Secrets of Hospitality).

Herzog also served as a member of the public advisory board of Mifal HaPais (the national lottery), as the chairwoman of the Friends of Schneider association at the Schneider Children’s Medical Center, and as a member of the board of governors of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Herzog passed away on January 10, 2022, at the age of ninety-seven. Her coffin lay in state at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem and she was buried next to her husband, the Sixth President, Chaim Herzog, in the Great Leaders of the Nation’s Plot on Mount Herzl.

The Seventh President: Ezer Weizman

Birth: June 15, 1924
Presidency: 1993-2000
Death: April 24, 2005

Ezer Weizman was born in 1924 in Tel Aviv. His father, Yehiel (Hilik) Weizman, was the brother of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the First President of the State of Israel. His mother, Yehudit Weizman (née Krishevsky), was the daughter of one of the founding families of Rishon LeZion.

Ezer Weizman

Credit: Yaakov Saar, GPO

When he was seventeen years old, he passed the Haganah’s squad commanders’ course. In the Second World War, he served as a pilot in Britain’s Royal Air Force and was posted to Egypt and India. In 1950 he married Reuma Schwartz (the sister of Ruth Dayan, the wife of Moshe Dayan), and they had two children. Their son Shauli, who was seriously wounded in the War of Attrition, was killed alongside his wife in a traffic accident in 1991.

Following in the footsteps of his uncle Michael Weizmann, a Royal Air Force pilot who fell in battle in the Second World War, Ezer Weizman also aspired to be a pilot. He passed a civilian flight course even before his enlistment in the British military. After a year as a cargo driver in the Royal Air Force, in 1943 he enrolled in a flight school in the British colony of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in Africa. He completed the course two years later and served in India. In 1946, he was discharged from the British military. He then went to London to study aviation, and there he joined the Irgun. Upon his return to the Land of Israel, he joined the Haganah’s Sherut Avir (air force), the precursor of the Israeli Air Force, which Weizman would one day rise to command.

During the War of Independence, Weizman flew ammunition and supplies to the besieged Negev and Gush Etzion and evacuated the wounded. During the fighting, Weizman was sent to Czechoslovakia for a speedy conversion course to fly the Messerschmitt planes that Israel had just purchased. After that, he served in a series of operational and command positions in the Israeli Air Force, commanding the force in 1958-1966. As the commander of the IAF, Weizman played a central role in shaping the spirit and character of the force and boosting its power and fighting fitness. In 1966-1969, he served as the head of the IDF General Staff Directorate, which would later become the Operations Directorate.

Following his discharge from the IDF in 1969, Weizman joined the national unity government as a minister for the Herut movement. He served as the minister of transportation until Gahal (the Freedom-Liberals Bloc) quit the government in 1970 following its acceptance of the Rogers Plan.

Ahead of the 1977 elections, Weizman returned to being active in the Likud movement. He ran the election campaign that led to the political upheaval that brought the Likud to power, after which he was appointed the minister of defense in Menachem Begin’s government. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem in November 1977 caused Weizman to change his previously hawkish views. He played an important role in securing the 1978 Camp David Agreement, which paved the way for the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. In 1980, Weizman resigned from the government because of disagreements with the prime minister about the peace process and because of cuts to the defense budget and the settlements policy in the territories.

In 1980-1984, Weizman moved to the private sector. In 1984, he founded a new party, Yachad, which was elected to the Knesset and served as the fulcrum between the two major parties. The same year, Israel saw the establishment of a unity government based on a rotation agreement, headed by Shimon Peres, and Weizman served as a minister without portfolio, with responsibility for Arab affairs and membership of the security cabinet. In October 1986, he and his party joined the Alignment. In 1988, he was appointed the minister of science and technology in Yitzhak Shamir’s national unity government. After this government was dismantled, Weizman decided to quit politics, and in 1992, he resigned from the Knesset.

In 1993, Weizman was elected president. During his presidency, he paid regular condolence calls at the homes of bereaved families who lost their loved ones during his time in office, also visiting wounded IDF soldiers. Weizman used his authority to commute the life sentences of convicted murderers only sparingly. He was re-elected for a second term in 1998 but resigned two years later in the context of a police investigation, despite the attorney-general’s decision not to indict him. During his presidency, the length of a presidential term was changed to seven years.

Ezer Weizman passed away in 2005 and was buried, as he requested in his will, in Or Akiva, next to his son and daughter-in-law.

First Lady Reuma Weizman, wife of the Seventh President

Reuma Weizman (née Schwartz) was born in London in 1925. When she was one year old, she made aliyah with her parents Rachel and Dov Schwartz, and the family settled in Jerusalem. Believing in the values of a kibbutz education, her parents sent her to Kibbutz Mishmar HaEmek when she was nine years old. She married Ezer Weizman in 1950.

Over the years, even before her husband was elected president, Mrs. Weizman was involved in volunteering work and public activities.

As the first lady, Mrs. Weizman focused her endeavors on the absorption of Jewish immigration, in the context of which she visited absorption centers and caravan sites and welcomed new immigrants to the President’s Residence. She also worked to care for disabled children, volunteering for many years through Micha, which works with deaf children. In addition, she devoted her time to literacy and encouraging reading and engaged in diplomatic activities, hosting diplomats’ wives and participating in international conferences.

The Eighth President: Moshe Katsav

Presidency: 2000-2007

Birth: December 5, 1945
Presidency: 2000-2007

Moshe Katsav was born in the city of Yazd, Iran, in 1945, to Gohar and Shmuel Katsav. When he was one year old, the family moved to Tehran, and when he was five, they made aliyah and were resettled in the Sha’ar HaAliyah transit camp near Haifa. From there, the family moved to the Kastina transit camp, later Kiryat Malachi. During the severe floods of the winter of 1951, the tents at the transit camp collapsed, and Katsav’s baby brother died. Another brother had passed away in Iran. In 1969, he married Gila Pardani , and the couple had four sons and a daughter.

Moshe Katsav

Credit: Yaakov Saar, GPO

Katsav began his public career in tandem with his economics and history degree at the Hebrew University, when he was elected the chairman of its Gahal (Freedom-Liberals Bloc) student society. At the age of only twenty-four, he was elected the mayor of Kiryat Malachi and thus became the youngest municipal head in Israel.

In 1977, Moshe Katsav was elected to the Ninth Knesset for the Likud, becoming the first mayor of a development town to enter the Knesset. In the Tenth Knesset, he was appointed the deputy minister of housing and construction, responsible for the project of rehabilitating poor neighborhoods. In the Eleventh Knesset, he was appointed the labor and welfare minister, and in the Twelfth Knesset, he served as the minister of transportation and as a member of the ministerial foreign affairs and defense committee. In the Thirteenth Knesset, he was elected the chairman of the Likud parliamentary faction, and in the Fourteenth Knesset, he served as deputy prime minister, minister of tourism, and minister responsible for the Arab Israeli community.

In 2000, Katsav was elected the Eighth President of the State of Israel.

President Katsav resigned from the Presidency in July 2007 after being indicted, and in December 2010 he was convicted in the Tel Aviv District Court of committing sexual offenses, including two counts of rape, and obstruction of justice. In March 2011, Katsav was sentenced to seven years in prison and two years’ probation and ordered to pay monetary compensation. The Supreme Court, which considered Katsav’s appeal against the conviction and sentence, decided unanimously to reject his appeal.

Katsav served five years and fifteen days of his seven-year sentence and was released on December 18, 2016.

Katsav’s trial and conviction cast a heavy cloud over his presidency but served as evidence of the fact that in the State of Israel, all are equal before the law.

First Lady Gila Katsav, wife of the Eighth President

Gila Katsav was born in Tel Aviv in 1948. Her parents, Ben-Zion and Rachel Pardani , were members of the Beitar movement in Poland and Ukraine. In 1969 she married Moshe Katsav. For some thirty years, Mrs. Katsav combined family life, public activity, and her work at a bank and B’nei B’rith. Over the years, Mrs. Katsav worked on welfare issues close to her heart: helping children in distress and volunteering through Yad Sarah, and she continued with this activity during her time as first

The Ninth President: Shimon Peres

Birth: August 2, 1923
Presidency: 2007-2014
Death: September 28, 2016

Shimon Peres (né Persky) was born in the town of Wiszniew, Belarus, in 1923 to Yitzhak, a wealthy timber merchant, and Sara (née Meltzer), a volunteer librarian. In 1934 he made aliyah and lived with his family in Tel Aviv. At first, he studied at the Balfour and Geula schools, followed by the Ben Shemen agricultural school. When he was seventeen years old, he headed a group of children from the HaNoar HaOved movement who went to Kibbutz Geva in the Harod Valley for professional training. This kernel of students joined the founders of the communal settlement of Alumot in the Lower Galilee, where he worked as a shepherd, a dairy farmer, and the secretary of the community. At the age of twenty, he was elected the national secretary of the HaNoar HaOved movement.

Shimon Peres

Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom, GPO

In 1945, Shimon Peres married his girlfriend Sonya Gelman, whom he had met during his studies at Ben Shemen. They started their family in Kvutzat Alumot and had three children: Tsvia Walden (a doctor in linguistics), Yonatan Peres (a doctor and veterinarian), and Nechemia Peres (an engineer and the managing partner and founder of a venture capital fund).

At the age of twenty-four years, Peres enlisted into the headquarters of the Haganah, where he was given a series of special missions, mostly regarding manpower, military industrial acquisitions, and defense R&D. In 1949, Peres was appointed the head of the IDF Naval Services, and after the War of Independence, he was appointed the head of a Ministry of Defense delegation to the United States. Upon his return to Israel in 1952, aged twenty-nine, David Ben-Gurion appointed him the acting and then permanent director-general of the Ministry of Defense. Peres focused his efforts on reorganizing the ministry, finding new markets to supply the IDF with advanced weapons, and developing the Israeli defense industry.

Peres cultivated special personal and political ties with France, its leaders, and its security establishment. Those ten years of exceptional relations between France and Israel are considered the golden age of their bilateral relationship, and they led to unprecedented cooperation in the fields of security and diplomacy. As the architect of these ties, Peres was awarded the Legion of Honor, the highest order of merit in France.

Shimon Peres served as a member of the Knesset for forty-eight years, the longest term in the history of the Israeli parliament. He also served as the chairman of the Labor Party for eighteen years, a position to which he returned after the murder of Yitzhak Rabin, in 1995-1997, and he was reelected its chairman years later, serving in 2003-2005.

Shimon Peres served as a minister in twelve governments and served twice as prime minister (1984-1986, 1995-1996). His first roles in government were as the minister of absorption, with responsibility for economic development in the territories (1969), and then minister of transportation and postal services (which later became communications) in Golda Meir’s government. In the first Rabin government (1974-1977), he served as the minister of defense. During this term, Peres devoted most of his energies to rehabilitating the IDF, which had suffered a terrible blow in the Yom Kippur War. In this capacity, he spearheaded Operation Entebbe (“Operation Jonathan”), which was approved by the Rabin government and ended with the rescue of Israeli hostages in Uganda.

After Yitzhak Rabin’s resignation in 1977, Peres served as the acting prime minister until the elections to the Ninth Knesset. Following the 1984 elections, which ended in deadlock between the Alignment and the Likud, a unity government was established headed by Peres as the first prime minister in a rotation arrangement. Under his leadership, the IDF withdrew from Lebanon, save the security belt in the south of the country. As prime minister, Peres also led the Israel Economic Stabilization Plan, which saved the Israeli economy from collapse and reduced inflation.

During Peres’s tenure as the foreign minister in the second Rabin government, he led, in cooperation with Yitzhak Rabin, the peace process with the Palestinians, which reached a peak with the signing of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements at a festive ceremony at the White House, under U.S. President Bill Clinton. For this effort, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, together with Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, in 1994.

Peres developed and maintained special and covert relations with King Hussein of Jordan for many years, which led to the negotiations headed by Rabin and the peace treaty with Jordan, which was signed in 1994.

After the shocking murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995, Shimon Peres was chosen to serve as prime minister. He served in the role until the direct elections for the premiership and the Fourteenth Knesset in 1996, which Benjamin Netanyahu won. Later, Peres served as the foreign minister in Ariel Sharon’s government, as the vice prime minister, and as the minister for the development of the Negev and Galilee in the Ehud Olmert government.

In June 1996, he began establishing the Peres Center for Peace, which works to initiate and operate joint projects with Israel’s Palestinian, Jordanian, and Egyptian neighbors in the fields of the economy, culture, education, sports, computers, agriculture, media, and healthcare.

Peres was also known as a man of letters, who maintained close ties with authors and intellectuals in Israel and around the world and wrote several books, published in Israel and around the world, from 1965 till his final years.

On July 15, 2007, Peres was sworn in as the Ninth President of the State of Israel. During his presidency, Peres continued working as a leader, visionary, and statesman. Among other activities, he hosted the 2008 Israeli Presidential Conference, attended by over 5,000 guests from fifty countries, and did much to encourage the development of Israeli hi-tech, especially nanotechnology, and promote young Israeli scholars and scientists and youth with an interest in science.

President Peres also led support for environmental protection, the use of alternative energy sources, and the preservation of natural assets.

During his travels around the country, Peres maintained direct contact with all sections of Israeli society, working to advance civil equality for minority communities, reduce socioeconomic inequality, and promote affirmative action for underprivileged groups. He also worked to highlight the value of education as a means of personal empowerment and obtaining the most from the human capital of the State of Israel.

Peres labored greatly to deepen the connection with Jewish communities in the Diaspora, nurturing their affinity with Israel. As an elder statesman of global renown, Peres dedicated his public appearances and foreign visits to highlighting the State of Israel’s huge achievements and longing for peace.

Some two years after the end of his presidency, on September 28, 2016, Shimon Peres passed away. He was buried in the Great Leaders of the Nation’s Plot on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

The Tenth President: Reuven Rivlin

Birth: September 9, 1939
Presidency: 2014-2021

Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin was born to Rachel and Professor Yosef Yoel Rivlin, an Orientalist, the scion of a deeply rooted Jerusalemite family and the eighth generation in the Land of Israel, on both sides.

הנשיא העשירי – ראובן ריבלין

Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom, GPO

In his childhood, Rivlin studied at the Rehavia Gymnasium and studied under the poets Dan Pagis and Yehuda Amichai. Rivlin was a member of the Israeli Scouts’ Masada tribe and in 1957 enlisted in the IDF and served in combat intelligence. In 1958 he graduated from officers’ school and began serving as an intelligence officer in the armored corps and in Eilat. During the Six-Day War, as a reserve officer, he served in the command and control room of the 55th Paratroopers Brigade, which fought in the battle for Jerusalem. He completed his reserve duty at the rank of major. In tandem, he completed a law degree at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and qualified as a lawyer.

Until the late 1960s, he was married to Yaffa Wilf, and in 1971 he remarried, this time to Nechama Shulman. Rivlin has four children.

As a lawyer and member of the Herut movement, Rivlin served in a series of public roles, including as a member of the Jerusalem Municipal Council in 1978-1983 and later as the chairman of the Herut branch in Jerusalem and chairman of the Likud organization. In 1981-1986, Rivlin served on El Al’s board of directors, also serving as the chairman of the Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene. Rivlin also served as the legal counsel to the Beitar Jerusalem sports association, chairman of the association, and manager of its soccer team. In 1988 he served as Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek’s deputy, after which he competed in Likud primaries in Jerusalem for the top position on the party list.

Rivlin was elected to the Twelfth Knesset in 1988, where he chaired the Special Committee for Combatting Drug and Alcohol Abuse. He also served on the House Committee, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee. In 1996, in the Fourteenth Knesset, Rivlin served on the Special Committee for the Examination of the Maccabiah Bridge Disaster, the Judicial Appointments Committee, the Culture and Sports Committee, and the Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency. In the Fifteenth Knesset, Rivlin served as the chairman of the Likud parliamentary group and representative of the opposition on the Judicial Appointments Committee. In this Knesset, Rivlin began his tenure as deputy speaker of the Knesset and later as the minister of communications.

In 2003, Rivlin was elected the speaker of the Sixteenth Knesset. In this capacity, he worked to strengthen the independence of the Knesset and gained broad public recognition for his defense of democracy and efforts to safeguard the rights of minority groups.

In the Seventeenth Knesset, Rivlin was a member of the Finance Committee, the Immigration, Absorption, and Diaspora Affairs Committee, the Special Committee for the Rights of the Child, the Caucus for Jerusalem, and the Caucus for the Druze and Circassian Communities.

In 2007, Rivlin officially announced his candidacy for the role of president of the State of Israel after the end of Moshe Katsav’s term. In the second round of voting, he withdrew his candidacy and called on his fellow Knesset members to support Shimon Peres, who won the election.

In 2009, in the Eighteenth Knesset, Rivlin was elected the speaker of the Knesset for the second time. In the Nineteenth Knesset, Rivlin served on the Finance Committee and the Immigration, Absorption, and Diaspora Affairs Committee. He also served as a member of the Committee for the Promotion of Competition in the Food Sector, as chairman of the Jerusalem Caucus, and as a member of the Caucus for Strengthening Relations with the Jewish People.

In 2014, Rivlin was elected the Tenth President of the State of Israel.

As president, Rivlin worked to safeguard Israel’s character as a Jewish, democratic state, to build strong partnerships between different communities in Israeli society—Jews and Arabs, religious and secular—to protect freedom of religion, and to promote equality and prosperity for all citizens of Israel. In the international arena, Rivlin worked to foster international commitment to Holocaust commemoration and led a joint struggle against antisemitism and racism. At the start of his presidency, Rivlin became the first Israeli president to attend a memorial for the Kafr Qasim massacre. During his presidency, he received an honorary doctorate from Bar Ilan University and the University of Piraeus.

At the Herzliya Conference in 2015, Rivlin delivered his “Tribes Speech,” in which he described Israeli society as divided into a solid secular Zionist majority and growing religious, ultra-Orthodox, and Arab minorities approximating it in size, and warned that the gaping cultural, religious, and identity rifts between the communities threatened Israeli society. Rivlin called for the creation of a new Israeli order by changing the prevailing conception of majority-minority relations to one of partnership, and in this, he sparked a broad public debate. Following this landmark speech, the Israeli Hope program was launched.

Rivlin, who stopped eating meat in his youth, expressed his support as president for animal welfare and reducing meat consumption. In 2016, he held the first dog adoption day at the President’s Residence, in cooperation with the Let the Animals Live and Noah NGOs. Rivlin also introduced a vegetarian barbeque to the annual Independence Day ceremony at the President’s Residence.

In 2017, President Rivlin hosted several important world leaders, including the president of the United States and the prime minister of India.

At the end of his presidency, Rivlin continued living in Jerusalem , and in 2021 he was appointed the honorary chairman of the Israel Democracy Institute.

First Lady Nechama Rivlin, wife of the Tenth President

Nechama Rivlin (née Shulman) was born in 1945 in the moshav of Herut. When she completed her studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, she received a BSc in biotechnology and zoology and a teaching certificate in natural sciences. During President Rivlin’s term in office, Mrs. Rivlin founded a communal garden at the President’s Residence, established a Hebrew poetry prize, and worked to advance underprivileged communities, including women victims of violence. In her final years, she carried out her public engagements while battling a serious lung disease, raising public awareness about the daily difficulties of people with disabilities and society’s obligations toward them.

Nechama Rivlin passed away in 2019.

Book a Tour

Visiting the President’s Residence is free of charge!

Visits must be booked in advance. You may sign up for a 90-minute visit and tour (including the security check) in Hebrew, Arabic, or English.

Please note: You may only visit the President’s Residence through an organized tour. The President’s Residence is a living and active institution, with a tight timetable that is always subject to change. We advise booking a tour at least a month or two in advance. There is a possibility that before your visit, we will have to postpone or cancel your tour owing to other engagements at the President’s Residence.
  • Entry to the President’s Residence is subject to a security check.
  • No weapons allowed.
  • You are advised not to arrive with bags or laptops.
  • Entry is subject to the presentation of ID.
  • Please wear appropriate and respectful clothing.
  • In order to protect the environment, the President’s Residence avoids using disposable utensils. Please come with your own water bottle, which you may fill here.
  • Tours for organized groups (over 15 participants): Organized groups, charities, companies, schools, public sector workers, soldiers, units in the security forces, and family groups with over 15 people are invited to book a tour here.
  • Tours for adults (under 15 people): Individual visitors or groups with fewer than 15 participants are invited to book a tour here.

Organized group tours (more than 15 PAX)

Organized groups, non-profits, corporations, schools, state employees, soldiers, defense personnel units, family groups larger than 15 participants can schedule a tour here.

Organized Tours for Adults (less than 15 PAX)

Single Visitors or groups numbering less than 15 participants may schedule their tour here.

Tours for families and children

The President’s Residence is also open to children and invites the next generation of the State of Israel to enjoy a unique experience and discover the institution of the Presidency! You can sign up for family tours, tailored for children up to the age of 15, here.

How do I get to the President’s Residence?

The President’s Residence, 3 Hanasi Street, Jerusalem.
The President’s Residence is served by Egged bus route 13 at the Beit Hanasi bus stop.
You may also walk to the President’s Residence from the following bus stops:
Azza/Radak (~5 minutes). Buses: 9, 17, 19, 19a, 22, 92, 517, 791.
Keren Hayesod/Ahad Ha’am (~10 minutes). Buses: 7, 7a, 18, 34, 34a, 71, 72, 74, 75, 77, 77a, 78, 78a.

You may also park at the (paid) public parking lot at the Jerusalem Theater, at 1 Prof. Ya’akov Sheskin Street (~7-minute walk).