Rivlin served as Legal Adviser, Chairman and team manager of the Betar Jerusalem Sports Association. He was a member of the Jerusalem Municipal Council (since 1978) and a member of the El Al Executive Council (1981-1986). He is a former member of the Board of Trustees fo the Khan Theater and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. He served as Chairman, of the Likud Organization (1988-1993) and as Chairman of the Jerusalem Branch of the Herut Movement (from 1986).
In 1988, Rivlin was first elected to Knesset, winning representation through thte Likud Party. In the Knesset, he has served on the Foreign Affairs and Defense; Constitution, Law and Justice; State Control; Anti-Drug Abuse; Education and Culture; and the Advancement of the Status of Women Committeess. He also was a member of the Committee for Appointing Judges; the Committee for the Examination of the Maccabia Bridge Disaster; the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee on the Continuing Financial Crisis of the Local Governments; and the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee on Violence in Sports.
From 2001 to 2003, Rivlin served as Minister of Communications. In 2003, he was elected Speaker of the Knesset, a position he held until 2006. In 2009, Rivlin was re-elected to Knesset on the Likud ticket and was once again appointed Speaker of the Knesset, holding the post until 2013.
In June 2014, Rivlin won Israel's election for president, beating out Knesset member Meir Sheetrit with 63 votes in a runoff vote. He was sworn into office in July 2014, officially replacing Shimon Peres and becoming Israel's 10th President. Upon his election as the 10th president, he immediately ceased being a member of the Israeli Parliament.
He is married, with four children.