Professor Daniel Shechtman.
(photo credit: screenshot)
Nobel Prize winning Professor Dan Shechtman began his race for president on Monday with meetings at the Knesset with the Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, Education Minister Shai Piron and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
Together, Lapid and Liberman control a quarter of the Knesset, so Schechtman's meetings on Monday were crucial for his run. In order to run for president, Shechtman needs the support of at least 10 MKs.
He also met on Monday with Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein, who has yet to set a date for the presidential election expected to take place in June.
Edelstein said that in light of Shechtman's accomplishments, his candidacy is obvious and he respects it. He added that he would not be endorsing anyone, "but whoever runs must be able to reach out to all Israel's citizens, no matter what their opinions or standing."
Shechtman told Edelstein that "these are important hours for Israel and we need strategic thinking to know where we want to go."
Shechtman described himself as apolitical and highlighted educational issues as close to his heart. He also stressed that in his numerous speaking engagements abroad, he represented Israel as a creative, innovative and scientific country.
Prof. Shechtman, who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2011, also spoke at a science committee on the ongoing brain drain of highly skilled Israeli professionals leaving Israel for other opportunities abroad.
"The Israeli government needs to invest in building large scientific think tanks, and recruit better teachers to stop the brain drain," he said.
Shechtman also planned to meet with Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, who has presented a bill that would require a seven-year cooling-off period for politicians before they run for president.
Shechtman announced his run for president in January. If he wins, he would be the first non-politician to win since biophysicist Ephraim Katzir in 1973.