MK Rivlin and MK Sheetrit.
(photo credit: GPO)
Likud MK Reuven Rivlin will be the tenth president of Israel after he scored a victory over Hatnua MK Meir Sheetrit in the second round of voting at the Knesset on Tuesday.
Rivlin received 63 votes in the second round, while Sheetrit received 53 votes.
Rivlin, who won out in a field of five presidential candidates, will replace President Shimon Peres in the position when the 90-year-old steps down on July 27 when his seven year term comes to a close.
Sheetrit and Rivlin went to a second round runoff round after none of the candidates managed to get a majority 61 votes in the first round of voting on Tuesday.
Rivlin lead the first round with 44 votes, followed by Sheetrit with 31 votes, former MK Dalia Itzik with 28 votes, former Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner with 13 votes and Nobel Laureate Dan Shechtman with only one vote.
Rivlin teared up during a speech to the Likud faction on Monday afternoon, saying "I was born in the [Likud forebear] Herut Party and I never left it for any temptation. Tomorrow may be my greatest hour, but it may be an important time for the whole party, in which one of its sons will become president of our country."
At the beginning of the faction meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not mention the presidential race of his own volition, simply answering positively when asked by reporters if he wants to wish Rivlin good luck. Then, the two awkwardly shook hands.
When photographers asked if Netanyahu wants to express his support for the cameras, he said "I already did."
Sheetrit was also brought to tears, when he mentioned his daughter, Miri, who died of cancer. The anniversary of her death is on Tuesday.
Sheetrit, who is one of the top 10 wealthiest politicians according to Forbes Israel, released his finances in the Hatnua faction meeting after all of the other candidates did so on Monday, raising questions about whether he was hiding something.
The MK listed three apartments that are worth about NIS 4-5 million altogether, which he owns together with his wife. He also distributed his pay stub, which showed he earns NIS 23,123 a month.
However, Sheetrit did not detail property listed under his wife's company, Sheetrit Communications, which is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars, saying that he is not involved in managing those funds.
"Since I made aliyah from Morocco to a ma'bara [transit camp for new immigrants], everything I did with my wife Ruti was with my own two hands and with hard work," he stated. "My 40 years of work speak for themselves; I am clean."