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Last day to join Israel’s presidential race

CM 18/05/2021

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Potential presidential candidates scrambled in the Knesset on Tuesday to obtain the signatures of 10 MKs who support them, which they must submit by Wednesday night to be able to run in the June 2 election.
As of Tuesday evening, the only potential candidates who had enough support were Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog, former Likud MK Yehudah Glick, and Israel Prize winning educator Miriam Peretz. All three have support of MKs from multiple factions.
Other potential candidates who had the support of some MKs but not yet 10 included former Labor Party MKs Shimon Shetreet and Michael Bar-Zohar, solar energy pioneer Yosef Abramowitz, and singer Yehoram Gaon.
Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin turned down a request from Bar-Zohar on Tuesday to postpone the vote by a week due to the ongoing war, after Bar-Zohar told Levin that holding an election during an IDF operation was inappropriate.
Levin said he chose the date for the race hours before the escalation began, and cannot be changed. “Changing the date would be unacceptable interference in the election process,” according to Levin’s office.
Likud MKs tried at the last minute to draft former foreign minister David Levy to run, but Glick was likely to be the only candidate running from the party.
“I am highly motivated to roll up my sleeves and start working,” Glick said. “I am running to spread the light and love and to be the mouth for transparent populations, and a light unto the nations.”

Glick praised a decision by Likud faction chairman Miki Zohar to allow MKs in the faction to choose their own candidate without faction discipline. He expressed hope that all other factions would follow suit.
MKs who back Herzog include Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata (Blue and White), Yitzhak Pindrus (United Torah Judaism), Keti Shitrit (Likud) and Emilie Moatti (Labor). Tamano-Shata worked closely with Herzog to bring immigrants to Israel, and is now working energetically to help him get elected president.
Religious Zionist Party MK Orit Struck endorsed Peretz on Tuesday.
“She has lots of fans,” said Peretz’s campaign manager, former MK Avigdor Yitzhaki. “She is the only candidate who can unite the public, and she is a good person.”
Ads on social media for Peretz emphasized that she is a religious Zionist, and a settler who lost two sons in the IDF.
Abramowitz has the support of rebel Yamina MK Amichai Chikli and promises from MKs in multiple factions. He visited the home of Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz and is set to meet with the Meretz faction.
“It will go down to the wire,” said Abramowitz. “There were MKs who were waiting to see whether there would be a government, to see what would be good for themselves and their party. I am optimistic, but it will be a squeaker.”

Source: Jerusalem Post

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