Former Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) over the weekend became the second presidential candidate with enough endorsements to run in the election that will be held in May or June, joining Labor MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer.
In order to run, each candidate must obtain signed endorsements from at least 10 MKs. Ben-Eliezer obtained 14 from the Labor faction two weeks ago.
Rivlin’s 10 come entirely from the Likud and Bayit Yehudi, except for United Torah Judaism MK Ya’acov Litzman. The ministers who endorsed him are Gideon Sa’ar (Likud), Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi), and Uri Orbach (Bayit Yehudi).
“We have had more than enough support to run all along,” a source close to Rivlin said. “We will have support from across the political spectrum. A leftist is on the way to sign.”
There are not many leftist MKs available to endorse candidates at this stage. All Labor MKs except Shelly Yacimovich endorsed Ben-Eliezer.
The six Meretz MKs have been divided equally among former Knesset speaker Dalia Itzik, Nobel laureate Dan Shechtman
, and former Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner
. Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid forbade his MKs from endorsing anyone.
Hatnua MKs back their faction chairman, Meir Sheetrit.
Kadima MK Yisrael Hasson endorsed Shechtman, leaving Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz as the only vote currently available among Zionist factions on the Left.
Mofaz’s spokeswoman confirmed that his vote is “very sought after.” She said he believes it is too early to make an endorsement.
Shechtman’s associates said he would have endorsements from across the political spectrum, including from Arab factions and right-wingers, even though he currently has only the backing of five MKs on the Left.
“I don’t believe the Knesset won’t let me even run,” Shechtman told Channel 2.
Dorner reportedly has the support of four Arab MKs in addition to the two from Meretz.
Tourism Minister Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beytenu), who has not decided whether to run, will accompany Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on his trips this week to Los Angeles and Silicon Valley and return to Israel on Netanyahu’s plane. This will give him plenty of time to seek Netanyahu’s endorsement.
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman has said his party’s 11 MKs would endorse whomever Netanyahu supports.
Meanwhile, solar pioneer Yosef Abramowitz started meeting with MKs in order to explore whether to run. He said he has been received warmly. He also met with the man so many candidates hope to replace, President Shimon Peres.