President Shimon Peres is winding down the final months of his term in office as elections are scheduled to take place in Tammuz. However, the race has begun, at least behind the scenes, as a number of prominent present and former MKs begin enlisting support for their candidacy.
This list includes former Knesset Speaker MK (Likud) Reuven Rivlin, MK (The Movement) Meir Sheetrit (a former justice minister), MK (Labor) Fuad Ben-Eliezer (a former defense minister), and David Levy (a former Likud party foreign minister).
Rivlin ran against Peres in the last election and lost and at present, his chances for success are limited as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided to oust him as Knesset speaker and appoint Yuli Edelstein in his place. He is expected to run however, even without Likud’s backing.
Levy, today 74, left politics 15 years ago and has not returned since, even when his Likud party was ailing. However, he may nonetheless receive the Likud candidacy since it would buy Netanyahu a great deal of support among Sephardim.
Ben-Eliezer if the most veteran in Knesset and a threat to the other candidates since his popularity may pull votes from many parties.
Former Labor MK and Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik may enter the race for she may feel that running as the first woman seeking the office may buy her additional support.
The question now remains if the chareidim will all support one candidate in the hope of having a friend in the President’s Residence or will Shas and Yahadut Hatorah go their separate ways?
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)