Presidential candidates scramble to sign up supporters

Glick, Peretz say they already have enough MKs backing them to run.

President Reuven Rivlin (R) attends the Remembrance Day ceremony at Har Herzl's memorial hall, April 14 2021.  (photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin (R) attends the Remembrance Day ceremony at Har Herzl's memorial hall, April 14 2021.
(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
The June 2 race for president will get into high gear this week, as potential candidates must formally submit the signatures of 10 MKs who support them by Wednesday in order to be able to run.
As of Sunday afternoon, the only potential candidates who had enough support to be able to run were Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog, former Likud MK Yehudah Glick and Israel Prize winning educator Miriam Peretz. All three have support of MKs in multiple factions.
Other potential candidates who had the support of some MKs but not yet 10 included former Labor Party MKs Shimon Shetreet and Michael Bar-Zohar, solar energy pioneer Yosef Abramowitz and singer Yehoram Gaon.
“I am highly motivated to roll up my sleeves and start working,” Glick said. “I am running to spread the light and love and to be the mouth for transparent populations and a light unto the nations.”
Glick praised a decision by Likud faction chairman Miki Zohar on Sunday to allow MKs in the faction to choose their own candidate without faction discipline. He expressed hope that all other factions would follow suit.
The MKs who back Herzog include Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata (Blue and White), Yitzhak Pindrus (United Torah Judaism), Keti Shitrit (Likud) and Emilie Moatti (Labor). Tamano-Shata worked closely with Herzog to bring immigrants to Israel and is now working energetically to help him get elected president.
Peretz’s campaign manager, former MK Avigdor Yitzhaki, said she may submit the signatures of the MKs who back her already on Tuesday when she registers to run.
“She has lots of fans,” Yitzhaki said. “She is the only candidate who can unite the public, and she is a good person.”
Ads on social media for Peretz emphasized that she is a religious Zionist and a settler who lost two sons in the IDF.
The military escalation and the Shavuot holiday have made it harder for the candidates to draft support. Bar-Zohar is pushing for the race to be postponed until the latest day possible by law, June 9.
“Doing this in the middle of a war is inappropriate,” a source close to Bar-Zohar said.
Abramowitz has the support of rebel Yamina MK Amichai Chikli and promises from MKs in multiple factions. He visited the home of Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz and is set to meet with the Meretz faction.
“It will go down to the wire,” he said. “There were MKs who were waiting to see whether there would be a government to see what would be good for themselves and their party. I am optimistic, but it will be a squeaker.”