President Reuven Rivlin urged Israelis to vote in the general election, saying that maintaining a democratic system is hard work and “not a given.”

“Elections are a celebration of democracy,” Rivlin told voters in a column carried by Hebrew-language media. “This is the day we exercise our right to determine our fate, as citizens with equal rights and as partners in the political enterprise – the State of Israel.”

“Democracy is not a given, nor is a state’s ability to preserve its democratic character, the independence of its governing institutions, and its uncompromising commitment to civil rights and equality under law,” the president wrote.

“It’s enough to look at our neighbors, and the situation in many other countries to realise that a person’s right to shape their life, their fate and their future is acquired by hard work.”

Rivlin expressed the hope that next time he could vote with his wife, Nechama, who is hospitalised in a difficult condition of health. “For fifty years we voted together. I hope next time we will also vote here together, in our permanent place of residence.”

“Neither the president nor party leaders will determine who will be prime minister and what the next government will be. The only ones that will determine this are you, and in order for you to influence – you must vote,” Rivlin said in an appeal to Israeli citizens.

More than 6 million Israeli citizens will be able to realise their democratic right and vote in the elections for the 21st Knesset.

6,339,729 eligible voters will be able to visit the polling stations and drop into the ballot the note bearing the name of their preferred party. The right to vote is given to every Israeli citizen who on the day of elections to the Knesset is 18 years of age or older.