Rivlin to seek Shas endorsement

Former Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin intends to meet with Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef at the rabbi's Jerusalem home on Wednesday to ask him to back his candidacy for the presidency. Rivlin submitted a form to Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik on Tuesday declaring his candidacy. Several coalition MKs endorsed Rivlin on the form, including Shelly Yacimovich (Labor), Ze'ev Elkin (Kadima) and Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas). Shas officials said the rabbi would only decide who Shas should support after it was clear who would be running in the race. Although no date has been selected for the race, it is expected to be held in the second week of June and the candidates will only be known the week before. Vice Premier Shimon Peres is not expected to decide whether he will run until the last possible moment, in case unexpected circumstances persuade him to seek the premiership instead of the presidency. Peres was leaning toward running for president, one of his associates said.