Daily Israel Report
Show More

OpEds


PM Declares Official Support for Reuven Rivlin for President

In surprise move, Binyamin Netanyahu backs rival MK Rivlin. Was it due to political pressure?
By Ido Ben-Porat and Hezki Ezra
First Publish: 5/28/2014, 5:34 PM / Last Update: 5/28/2014, 5:58 PM

Rivlin and Netanyahu
Rivlin and Netanyahu
Flash 90

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a surprise move, called controversial presidential candidate Reuven Rivlin (Likud) to announce his official support for Rivlin in the June 10th elections. 

"We have many things in our lives, better days and worse days, and I hope we move to see better days," Netanyahu reportedly told Rivlin. "I waited to see the shortlist, and as the Prime Minister and Chairman of the Likud, I express support for your nomination."

"Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for your support," Rivlin said. 

Controversy has reigned over Rivlin's campaign, due to a reported feud between the Likud MK and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Although Rivlin, being from the Likud, would be a natural candidate for Netanyahu to support, Netanyahu had allegedly been making desperate maneuvers to try and prevent Rivlin from being elected, given the bad history between them.

Ministers and members of Knesset Likud exerted heavy pressure on the Prime Minister to declare his support for Rivlin and leave behind the tension created between the two. 

'A man the people could get excited about' 

Earlier Wednesday, Jewish Home (Bayit Yehudi) announced that it will support Rivlin in the upcoming elections.

"They say you measure a man from his cup, his pocketbook, and his anger," Bennett wrote in a Facebook post. [Editor's note: in Hebrew, this is a Talmudic saying - kiso, ka'aso, and koso - i.e., how a man acts when he is drunk, when money is at stake, or reacts in anger.]

"Reuven Rivlin has never been drunk on power; even when he was in high-ranking positions, he has always cared for the weak. He is strikingly modest when it comes to wealth. And anger; even when he lost the last presidential elections [in 2007], he acted with grace and aplomb. It is not easy to lose." 

Bennett insisted that Rivlin is a "natural choice" for the next President of Israel." 

"[Rivlin] is a Zionist, a human being, a man with great love for the Land of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the Jewish people," he said. "He is a sensitive man, a man the people could get excited about."