Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made an unsuccessful last-ditch effort on Tuesday to get Elie Wiesel elected president.
On Tuesday evening, when it became clear that MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud Beytenu) was the only presidential candidate from the Right, Netanyahu continued to try to find someone other than the outspoken lawmaker, whose relationship with the prime minister has soured.
Starting at about 9 p.m., three hours before the deadline to submit one’s candidacy for president, Netanyahu called Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, Finance Minister Yair Lapid and other ministers to try to get their parties’ backing for the Holocaust survivor and author.
However, about half of Bayit Yehudi had already signed in support of Rivlin, and most of Yesh Atid had granted signatures to different candidates, so Netanyahu was unable to pull off the last-minute move on time and get Wiesel the necessary 10 MK signatures.
Netanyahu did not share his idea with Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who supports MK Meir Sheetrit of her Hatnua party for president.
In addition, a senior minister confirmed that Netanyahu had not mentioned that Wiesel is not a citizen of Israel.
Basic Law: The President says that any citizen who is a legal resident of the country may run for president.
In 2007, then-prime minister Ehud Olmert also asked Wiesel to run for president.