Former MK Michael Kleiner, the head of the Likud party’s internal court, on Thursday called on Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman to follow in the footsteps of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and support MK Reuven “Ruby” Rivlin’s candidacy for president.
Kleiner spoke to Arutz Sheva a day after Netanyahu declared support for Rivlin, a surprising move considering the two are known rivals and Netanyahu had been taking desperate measures to prevent Rivlin from being elected.
Liberman and his Yisrael Beytenu party were not thrilled with Netanyahu’s decision to back Rivlin. In fact, Liberman was reportedly "furious" over the announcement, and has sought to recruit Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid's support in backing former MK Dalia Itzik for president.
“Netanyahu deserves a good word for backing Rivlin despite their past differences,” Kleiner said Thursday. “I am convinced that if the Prime Minister did this, other members who previously had disputes with Ruby will take an example from the Prime Minister and put the differences in the past.”
He called on Liberman to publicly back Rivlin as well and to ensure that the other members of Yisrael Beytenu vote for him.
"I hope that the hareidi parties will support Rivlin, and I want to believe that Likud ally Avigdor Liberman will go the way of the Prime Minister and allow his friends to support Rivlin,” said Kleiner.
Rivlin, he said, “is the most appropriate man for the job. He is a model of a politician, who loves his people and his country.”
"[Rivlin] will not weaken the Prime Minister as [current President Shimon] Peres did,” added Kleiner. “Peres explained to world leaders why we should make concessions. Rivlin will do the opposite.”