Former Supreme Court judge Dalia Dorner joined the crowded field of candidates for president Thursday while vowing not to communicate in any way with any of the 120 MKs who will elect a replacement for President Shimon Peres in May or June.
The race already includes MKs Reuven Rivlin (Likud) and Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) and Nobel laureate Prof. Dan Shechtman. Negev and Galilee Development Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud), Tourism Minister Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beytenu), former Knesset speaker Dalia Itzik and Hatnua MK Meir Sheetrit may also run, as may other candidates.
“There was an overture to me to run and I decided that my candidacy would benefit the State of Israel, so I decided to field my candidacy,” Dorner told The Jerusalem Post. “But I will not go to the Knesset to seek votes, nor will I call MKs. Others can do that for me.”
When asked why she was running, Dorner said she wanted to show that a woman could run for president. She was surprised to hear from the Post that then-Labor MK Colette Avital had run for president against Shimon Peres seven years ago.
“Perhaps my candidacy could be more effective,” Dorner said.
Before speaking to the Post, Dorner gave a speech at the Technion in which she explained that she was running to open doors for women and encourage more women to run in the future. No one at the Technion informed Dorner that Avital had already run.
“The fact that Dorner did not know that she was not the first female candidate for president shows that she isn’t much of a feminist,” Avital said. “She could be a good president, but the head of the Press Council should follow the news, and if she doesn’t – how effective is she?” Itzik, who has been working on her potential candidacy for years, declined to comment on Dorner’s decision.
Dorner, who is currently the president of the Israel Press Council, was born in Turkey 80 years ago. She served as a Supreme Court justice for 11 years between 1993-2004. She currently teaches seminars on human rights at Bar-Ilan University as well as constitutional law at the Hebrew University.
Shechtman said he welcomed all candidates and that Dorner is certainly a fit one.
He said he had no problem with her announcing the candidacy at the Technion, where he works.
Ben-Eliezer said Dorner has joined a list of candidates that has “quality and variety.”
A source close to one of the candidates said they saw Dorner’s candidacy as intended to advance awareness of a cause and not to win. A source close to a different candidate said not going to the Knesset was disrespectful and showed that her candidacy was futile.