(photo credit: REUTERS)
MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud Beytenu) is the best candidate for the Right, Economy Minister and Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett said Wednesday.
The Bayit Yehudi leader called his endorsement a Jerusalem Day gift to Rivlin, who is strongly identified with the capital city.
"[Rivlin is] a Zionist with values and a good heart. I hope Israel will have a president like him," Bennett added.
Bennett endorsed Rivlin and said he will recommend that his party's 12 MKs do so, though he gave them freedom to vote how they wish in the secret-ballot election set for June 10.
Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel, Pensioners' Affairs Minister Uri Orbach and MKs Motti Yogev, Orit Struck and Yoni Chetboun signed Rivlin's petition for candidacy, which means that at least half of the party supports the former Knesset speaker for the position.
A senior Bayit Yehudi source said most of the party's remaining MKs will probably vote for Rivlin, as well.
"One of the moments in which Rivlin really won me over was in the last election for president. When he lost, I saw his noble behavior," Bennett told The Jerusalem Post
Bennett also lauded Rivlin's modesty and concern for minorities and weaker sectors in society.
Also Wednesday, Knesset Secretary Yardena Maller-Horowitz officially announced the six candidates for president - Rivlin, MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor), MK Meir Sheetrit (Hatnua), former Knesset speaker Dalia Itzik, Nobel Prize winner Dan Shechtman and former Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner - after checking that no MK endorsed two of them.