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Report: Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau Considering Presidential Campaign

Sources close to the former Chief Rabbi insist that he is considering a campaign - and could gain Netanyahu's support.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 5/20/2014, 12:28 PM

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau
Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau
Flash 90

Israel's media continues to speculate in-depth over the outcome of presidential elections, which were recently announced for June 10. Several candidates are rumored to be running, including MK and former Knesset Chairman Reuven Rivlin (Likud), former Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik (Labor/Kadima), MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor), and MK Meir Sheetrit (HaTnua). 

Two other candidates, Nobel Laureate Dan Shechtman and former Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner, have stated that the presidency is apolitical and have not signed up to a particular party. 

Conflicting reports surfaced Tuesday morning about whether Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, former Chief Rabbi of Israel, will also be making a presidential bid.

Sources close to the Rabbi told IDF Radio Tuesday that Lau has been approached "multiple times by multiple people" about the position, and that he is allegedly considering the offer. The sources noted that Lau has been close to the Netanyahu family for years - and would not only get the prime minister's backing, but also that of hareidi MKs and leaders as well. 

Rabbi Lau's office denied the rumors, saying that the honored religious figure prefers to remain a rabbi rather than a politician. 

If true, Rabbi Lau's presidential campaign could be met with considerable opposition. When reports appeared in 2007 that Rabbi Lau was running for that year's presidential election, Labor MK Shelly Yechimovich reacted in a hostile fashion. Yechimovich reportedly threatened to expose unspecified “incidents from the past” relating to Rabbi Lau, in the event that he ran for the position, and hinted that he would be better off if he decided not to run.