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Presidential candidates submit endorsements to Edelstein
By GIL HOFFMAN
05/27/2014
Shechtman, Dorner, Itzik, Rivlin, Ben-Eliezer and Sheetrit in presidential race with record number of candidates.
 
As he was presented with endorsements from a record six presidential candidates on Tuesday, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said he expects the race "to be conducted from now on in a clean and proper manner."

Frontrunner MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) was emotional as he presented his candidacy. "I hope the public representatives who vote will select who the public wants" and he vowed to make the president's residence a place where conflicts will be resolved.

Later in an Army Radio interview, he said he believes that the Likud is united behind him, though he does not know what Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wants. He said he does not have a problem with the prime minister personally.

"I didn't fight with anyone so I'm not looking to reconcile with anyone," Rivlin said. He said he believed it was possible to win in one round of voting.

Labor MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer emphasized his 60 years of public service - in the army, Knesset and the cabinet when he submitted his candidacy to Edelstein.

"I heard all the rumors and what people are saying behind my back, but I am sure that when the Knesset members vote they will remember my accomplishments and I will win."

Ben-Eliezer told Army Radio that he does not believe the vote will go according to traditional right wing-left wing lines on the diplomatic issues. "The Knesset members want a socioeconomic president," he said.

Both Hatnua faction Chairman Meir Sheetrit and former Supreme Court judge Dalia Dorner told Army Radio that they expect to win despite impressions in the public that they are not frontrunners.

"I have learned from experience that you have to wait for results," Sheetrit said. "You count ballots on the way out of the polls not the way in. If I go by the promises I've received I'll be president in one round."

Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon ruled Monday that there was no problem with receiving endorsements from MKs who have stated publicly that they do not intend to vote for the candidate they endorsed, clearing the way for Nobel laureate Dan Shechtman and Dorner to run.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman did not field an outside candidate, ending speculation about a possible run by former Foreign Minister David Levy.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog mocked Netanyahu for seeking so many candidates.

“The prime minister has asked everyone to run for president except for Pope Francis, but there is still time,” Herzog told his Labor faction.

Netanyahu’s associates still say that the most likely scenario is that he will not support any candidate.

Former Union for Reform Judaism president Rabbi Eric Yoffie attacked Rivlin in Haaretz Monday, complaining that when Rivlin ran for president seven years ago, he refused to call him rabbi.

He challenged Rivlin to clarify if his views had changed since he called a Reform service “idol worship and not Judaism” 25 years ago.

A source close to Rivlin responded that he “has always received Rabbi Yoffie respectfully and will continue to have a wonderful relationship with Diaspora Jews.”

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