Uri Orbach
Uri OrbachIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Uri Orbach (Jewish Home), Minister for Elderly Affairs, said that he has been working to elect Likud MK Ruby Rivlin to the post of President. Rivlin, said Orbach, was a “mentsch,” using the Yiddish term for “decent human being,” and Israel needed, and deserved, just such a person.

Earlier, MKs decided that elections would be held on June 10. Candidates are now free to announce their intent to run for the post, to replace Shimon Peres, whose term is set to expire by the end of June.

Rivlin is the first to formally announced his intention to run, saying he would do so at a press conference Monday. Rivlin sent an official request for support to all of his fellow Knesset members, Monday, ahead of the official launching of the campaign. Asking the same trust they gave him as speaker, Rivlin said he wanted to make the President's Residence a "house of cooperation, dialog and understanding.” Minister of Interior Gideon Saar pledged his allegiance to Rivlin, writing on his Facebook page, “I have already decided; I will vote for Reuven Rivlin.”

In his own Facebook posting, Orbach wrote that Rivlin “was best suited for the job. He is an excellent parliamentarian, easy to get a long with, a resident of Jerusalem, experienced, and a 'mentsch.' I will do everythign I can to get him elected.”

In Israel, the President is a figurehead position, and is elected to a seven year term by MKs. Other likely candidates for the post are Likud Minister Silvan Shalom, Labor MK Binyamin Ben Eliezer, and Nobel Prize winner Dan Schechtman.