In a post-election speech, Rivlin addressed the Knesset as well as "all citizens of Israel, including Jews, Arabs, Druze, the rich, the poor, the more and less observant" and recited a prayer of thanks.
Rivlin is staunchly conservative and a former Knesset speaker. His platform includes granting Israeli citizenship to Palestinians instead of statehood, and opposes Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.
He received only modest support, though, from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a fellow Likud member with whom he has a long feud. Natanyahu attempted to delay the election under other candidates could be found.
The leadership of Peres, 90, restored the presidency to a level of prestige hampered by scandals. His predecessor, Moshe Katsav, is in jail after a rape conviction, and Katsav's predecessor, Ezer Weizman, retired after corruption charges surfaced.