Former Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin got the nod from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Wednesday in a move that sent shockwaves around the Israeli political scene.
Rivlin, long considered Netanyahu’s nemesis, is the sole candidate for the upcoming June 10 presidential race from the prime minister’s Likud party.
“We have been through a lot together in our lifetimes. Some days were good, some not so good,” Netanyahu allegedly told him, as quoted by the prime minister’s spokesperson. “I hope we will know better days.”
Rivlin, who is not a vindictive person by nature, said he was genuinely happy to receive Netanyahu’s support, according to sources close to the MK.
Rivlin is also supported by Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) chairman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who told reporters he is “a Zionist with values and a good heart.” Rivlin is known for his modesty, said Bennett, and his concern for minorities and weaker sectors of society.
There are six candidates running for the post:
Rivlin (Likud); former Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor); MK Meir Sheetrit (Hatnua); former Knesset Speaker and MK Dalia Itzik; Nobel Prize winner Prof. Dan Shechtman; and former Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner.