Former Knesset speaker Dan Tichon is unhappy with MK Reuven Rivlin's election to the presidency, and is hinting at skeletons in Rivlin's closet that may one day be revealed.
“The Knesset has decided and this is what there is,” said Tichon in an interview on IDF Radio Wednesday. “Is it good or not so good? In the future we will know much more.”
Asked by the interviewer what this means, Tichon answered:
"Look – I must say that I have not been in good relations with Reuven Rivlin in the last few years and therefore I am slightly tainted, but it would be an understatement to say this was not a joyous day [for me], as one who knows Rivlin, and whom he often calls 'my teacher in the Knesset' and so on.”
Tichon appeared to be trying to tread carefully and avoid saying anything too direct. "Time will tell” if Rivlin's election was the right choice, he said. “Out of all of the politician candidates, Rivlin was the only one about whom there was no campaign exposing skeletons in his closet.”
"Listen, I was Knesset Speaker and some would say I was an authoritative one, and I sat in this house about 19 years, and I closely followed three of the five candidates and I have very strongly formed opinions about each one of them, so allow me to dispute what I read in the press, they each have their their advantages and disadvatages.
“The press did not delve too deeply into the winning candidate and he turned into Mr. Clean. Some people have a lot of misgivings based upon assorted issues.”
Pressed by the interviewer, Tichon added: “I received, heard and saw information against Rivlin.”
Tichon opined that in future elections, each candidate for president should undergo a hearing in which anyone with complaints against a candidate should be given opportunity to present them.
Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud-Beytenu) said Sunday that "The bad atmosphere that continues to envelop this race causes dissatisfaction from the process and casts a dark shadow on the contenders and the Knesset.”
"Regrettably,” he added, “it is undeniable that in the present climate, the elections for president will be lacking in any ceremonial or respectable dimension – as they should be.”
In his acceptance speech the president-elected acknowledged that he would need to work hard to "rehabilitate" the presidency after what has been described as the dirtiest presidential campaign in Israel's history.
"The trust of the public during the presidential elections absorbed a hard blow, and it is our duty to rehabilitate and restore it," said Rivlin, promising to be "a man of the people."
Two leading candidates for the presidency had to withdraw from the race at the last moment because of police inquiries, which followed accusations of criminal acts that were published in the media.
The first to withdraw was Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud-Beytenu), who was about to formally announce his candidacy, when news sources began to report that a woman who once worked for him claims he slept with her in a hotel room. Police summoned Shalom and questioned him, even though no formal complaint was filed and the alleged incident happened too long ago to be prosecuted, because of the statute of limitations.
The police found no justification for continuing the process against Shalom, but Shalom apparently had no choice but to withdraw from the race.
The second candidate whose candidacy was similarly torpedoed was MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor). Police summoned him for questioning on Friday after accusations of corruption surfaced in a newspaper article. He announced his withdrawal from the race on Saturday.
It is widely believed that the leaks against Ben-Eliezer and Shalom were made by a rival candidate or candidates, or by their supporters.