Miriam Peretz, an educator and 2018 recipient of the Israel Prize is the candidate of choice for a plurality of Israelis, according to a new poll released Friday morning.
According to the poll, which was conducted by Direct Polls on Thursday, surveying 684 Israeli Jews, if the president of Israel were selected by popular vote, Miriam Peretz would beat out Jewish Agency chairman and former Labor party chief Isaac Herzog.
A total of 49.05% of respondents said they favored Peretz as Israel’s next president, compared to 38.36% who preferred Herzog.
The poll only surveyed Israeli Jews, however, and the pollster noted that the margin between Peretz and Herzog was far closer than in the previous presidential election, held in 2014, when Reuven Rivlin held a wide lead over all rival candidates.
The election, set to take place on June 2nd, will be held in the Knesset via secret ballot, with the legislature’s 120 lawmakers eligible to vote.
Peretz, a former resident of the Israeli town of Ofira in the Sinai Peninsula, which was evacuated as part of Israel’s peace deal with Egypt, lost two of her sons in the IDF. She currently works as an official in the Education Ministry’s Society and Youth department.
In 2011, Peretz released her autobiography, entitled Shirat Miriam, highlighting her travails as a widow and twice-bereaved mother.
After turning down an offer to join the Likud in 2014, Peretz was awarded a lifetime achievement award from the Israel Prize in 2018.
Herzog, who previously led the Labor party and served in the Knesset for 15 years, is the son of Chaim Herzog, Israel’s sixth president, who served from 1983 to 1993.
The two candidates formally joined the presidential race on Wednesday, with Peretz submitting signatures from 11 MKs, and Herzog submitting signatures from 27 MKs.