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Israel’s Presidency Race Kicked Off with Six Candidates

JERUSALEM – Six Israeli leaders, Members of Knesset and men and women of note have submitted their candidacy for the President of Israel. The candidates are MK Ruby Rivlin (Likud), MK Benyamin Ben Eliezer (Labor), former MK Dalya Itzik, MK Meir Shitrit (Kadima), Nobel Prize Laureate Prof. Dan Shechtman and former judge Dalya Dorner.

Each of the candidates was required to collect ten signatures from Members of Knesset as a prerequisite to enter the race. The candidates marched to the office of Knesset Chairman Yuli Edelstein and submitted the registry forms.

The two leading candidates are currently MK’s Rivlin and Ben Eliezer. The race has become a passionate, and at times a vicious affair, with supporters and lobbyists working to sling mud at opponents. The uses of private investigators and exposures have been mentioned, bringing Knesset Chairman Edelstein to voice his aversion to these actions, stating: “I regret, and I am sure we all regret, the manner in which the race has been defined by slanders and de-legitimization. The President’s Institution is an important one in my opinion and serves as a symbol of the nation’s unity, especially during periods of crisis and conflict.”

There were expectations that a seventh candidate would join the race, possibly former Foreign Minister David Levy, but nothing became of it. It is still unknown which candidate PM Netanyahu supports.

Several Ministers and MK’s view the president’s position as unnecessary and have begun to work towards the abolition of the presidency in Israel. They have so far been unsuccessful.

A poll published by Ha’aretz this morning has MK Rivlin leading as Israel favorite candidate for presidency with 31% support. He is followed by Prof. Shechtman with 22%, Former judge Dorner with 11%, MK Ben Eliezer with only 10%, and lastly, MK’s Itzik and Shitrit with only 4% each. The President is to be elected by 120 Members of Knesset on June 10th.

About the Author: Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.


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