Israeli Professor Dan Shechtman, who won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, has indicated that he is interested in running for the position of Israeli President.
Speaking in an interview with Channel 1 News which aired Friday night, Shechtman said, "I see myself as a presidential candidate. I think I can change things for the better. I already am changing things in many areas, especially in the field of education, higher education and technological innovation. I think that as president I will be able to do much more."
He added, "I want to do good for the citizens of Israel, and there is much to do to improve their lives. I am a Zionist. I want to produce a generation of people who are sociable people, who see the needs of others, who relate and behave according to the needs of others.”
"As president, especially if you are popular with the people, they listen to you," said Professor Shectman, who added that if elected, he will be non-political and dedicate himself to internal affairs.
“The President should seek to unify people, not split them,” he said. “The moment you identify with one side of the political spectrum, you are no longer everyone’s president."
The race for Israel’s next president is expected to heat up in the coming months, as the term of the current president, Shimon Peres, ends this summer.
A recent poll found that most Israelis favor the possibility that that the 90-year-old Peres will remain in his position for a second term. This followed reports that Peres would seek another seven-year term as President, requiring a legislative change.
Peres has rejected the reports, declaring in an interview that he will end his term as scheduled next summer.
Referring to Peres, Shechtman said, "I appreciate him very much. He has acquired a tremendous standing worldwide, and I think he's smart. But I do not have to be a copy of him or anyone else. I need to be myself.”
Other names which have already been mentioned as potential presidential candidates are Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud), MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) and MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor). The recent poll indicated that should Peres not seek a second term, Rivlin was the most favored candidate among the Israeli public.