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Israel’s first lady, Nechama Rivlin, dies at 73

Nechama Rivlin, Israel’s first lady and wife of President Reuven Rivlin, died a day before her birthday Tuesday, at the age of 73, the President’s Residence said in a statement.

Rivlin was being treated at Beilinson Hospital, in Petah Tikva, when she died. She was receiving treatment following a lung transplant in March, The Times of Israel reported.

Rivlin suffered from pulmonary fibrosis and required the constant use of a portable oxygen tank, which was attached to her even during official ceremonies she attended with her husband.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement, “Together with all the citizens of Israel, my wife Sara and I express deep sorrow at the passing of the wife of the president, Nehama Rivlin.

“We all prayed for her healing during the recent period in which she fought bravely and with all her might for her life.

“We extend our heartfelt condolences to the president and to all his family. May her memory be a blessing,” he said.

Rivlin was born in Moshav Herut, an agricultural community in today’s central Israel.

Her parents, Drora and Mendi, emigrated from Ukraine and were among the pioneer founders of the community.

In 1971, she married Reuven Rivlin and the couple lived in Jerusalem.

Rivlin had a BSc in Botany and Zoology. As the first lady, she focused her activities on the environment, nature and art, as well as children with special needs.

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