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Daniel Shechtman Officially in Presidential Race

Nobel Laureate Shechtman garners significant public support, despite not declaring a political party.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 5/25/2014, 1:28 PM / Last Update: 5/25/2014, 1:40 PM

Nobel Prize winner Daniel Shechtman (file)
Nobel Prize winner Daniel Shechtman (file)
Flash90

Presidential candidate and Nobel Laureate Daniel Shechtman is officially running for president, Channel 2 announced Sunday, after receiving the ten necessary signatures from MKs to participate. 

Shechtman, despite not declaring a particular political party, has garnered a fair amount of public support, according to the daily. Nineteen percent of the Israeli public favors the Laureate for the largely figurehead position, recent surveys show. 

The surprise presidential candidate stated in February that his motivation to run for the post was not political, but a matter of ideals. 

"I do a lot for the State of Israel and its citizens in the Diaspora," he reflected. "I think that the position of President would give me far more influence than I have now." 

Specifically, Shechtman said, the political position would enable him to have a hand in decision-making, where he could contribute his problem-solving abilities for the betterment of the State. 

"This isn't coming from me," he explained. "People - some being friends, and some being Israeli citizens who don't know me personally - have been approaching me and urging me to run for the presidency."

"I debated the matter for a few weeks and decided to run for the position," he stated, adding that he is interested "in the position - but not the status."

Shectman also revealed that he has not signed on to a particular political party - nor has he approached current MKs to garner political support. "Why do I have to be a 'politician' to convince people?," he asked. "I actually think that people without an agenda can do very good work." 

The Nobel Laureate stated that one of the first issues he would tackle, if elected, would be education. "Education's job is to make people better, and we are not doing a very good job of that," he opined. 

Presidential elections will be held on June 10, it was announced last week, despite a push by several MKs to cancel the post altogether. Current official candidates include Shechtman, HaTnua MK Meir Sheetrit, and Likud MK Reuven Rivlin.