Economy Minister and Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett welcomed on Tuesday the victory of MK Reuven Rivlin in the presidential election, calling it a great day for the nationalist camp.
"The entire Jewish Home faction stood behind Ruby from the moment the candidate list was closed,” Bennett told Arutz Sheva. “For this purpose we were his home faction, but as of this moment he is the president of all the people of Israel.”
Rivlin, added Bennett, “is a man who loves the people of Israel and the land of Israel. This man is not ashamed to say he loves the land of Israel and I am very happy today.”
Bennett would not go into the conflict within Rivlin’s Likud party over his candidacy. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had made several attempts to block Rivlin from becoming president and reportedly continued to do so even on Tuesday morning, right before the vote.
"I do not interfere in the business of other parties,” he said. “Our party stood behind him. Sometimes common sense is an option. Simply doing the right thing. Ruby is a president who supports annexation of the land of Israel and I am happy about him being elected.”
Bennett also said that he hopes that as president, Rivlin will not interfere in political affairs and will stick to the president’s role as a ceremonial one. Shimon Peres, more than any other president in Israel's history, overstepped his authority and made statements that are contrary to the views of Israel’s elected government. He was criticized for doing this on more than one occasion, including by Bennett himself.
"I do not expect [Rivlin] to be President of the Jewish Home. I expect him to be president of all the people of Israel,” said Bennett. “That habit where the president intervenes too much in political issues is not good.”