To Prez or not to Prez

star-silvan-rivlinWill Silvan Shalom or Rubi Rivlin be the next President of israelThe President as an advocacy issue

For all you Americans out there the president I’m talking about is not P.O.T.U.S. No. 44 but P.O.S.O.I. (President of the State of Israel) No. 10. Normally Five Minutes for Israel would as a matter of principle not comment on Israeli partisan politics but here we have made an exception.

Disclaimer: As so often events may have overtaken a blog post but the latest Dry Bones reminded me to finish what I have started. It is now too late to change the Basic Laws to convert Israel from a parliamentary democracy into a republic before the new President is elected. Still the seed has been sown. Weed killers, please.

No to making Israel a republic!

If you are unaware the position of head-of-state in Israel is largely ceremonial, limited to one term and elected by the 120 members of the Knesset and not by the public. Believe me Five Minutes for Israel has no horse in this race. Any of the candidates below who have expressed an interest would bring honour to the position. So why are we upset enough to write?

The story is making the rounds that Prime Minister Netanyahu wants to abolish the position altogether. We think that would be a tragic error.

Dry Bones - the Israeli PresidencyThe reason for this, we are led to believe is a determination that the official Likud (Netanyahu’s party) candidate, Reuven (Rubi) Rivlin not be elected. I call BS on that one. It sounds like BDS to me. That’s Bibi Derangement Syndrome not Boycott, Divest, Sanction, by the way. (The Prime Minister’s Office has constantly denied this).

If that is his intention he has many ways easier ways to achieve it. He could simply renege on his deal with Rivlin and take the temporary political flack that would generate. He could quietly encourage another candidate and let it be known informally he would be grateful if he (or she) would be elected. He could undermine Rivlin while officially pretending to support him and take whoever else was selected. He has not reason to kick over the chicken coop if all he wants to do is dethrone a rooster.

Possible candidates (need the support of 10 MKs to run)

Does any other country in the world have such a supply of talented candidates?

(Marked  have already received the endorsement of 10 MK)

  • Yosef Abramovitz: Named by CNN as one of the top six Green Pioneers worldwide. Pioneer in mid-size and large-size solar fields. Human rights activist.
  • ♦ Binyamin Ben Eliezer:  Former Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour, Minister of Defense, Deputy Prime Minister. Former  Brigadier General.
  • Dalia Dorner: Former Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel. First Israeli woman, not serving in the Israeli Women’s Corps, to reach the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel. Lectures on Human Rights law.
  • Dalia Itzik: First female speaker of the Knesset, and has since served as President of Israel in an interim capacity on two occasions. Former Minister of the Environment and Minister of Communications
  • Uzi Landau: Former  Minister of Tourism and Minister of Internal Security. PhD in engineering from M.I.T.
  • ♦ Reuven Rivlin:  Former Chairman of the Knesset, Likud Chairman and speaker. Former Minister of Communications.
  • ♦ Dan Schechtman: 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Professor at the Technion (Israel’s Institute of Technology) and Iowa State University.
  • Silvan Shalom:  Current Minister for Regional Development, Minister for the Development of the Negev and Galilee and Minister of Energy and Water. Former Foreign Minister, Finance Minister, Science Minister and Vice Prime Minister. Journalist.
  • Meir Sheetrit†: Former Minister of the Interior, Minister of Housing & Construction, Minister of Finance, Minister of Justice, Minister of Transportation and Minister of Education, Culture & Sport. Former mayor of the city of Yavne.

Hamas joke

I couldn’t resist this joke now circulating the Internet and at least tangentially related to the subject.

Hamas, decided to send a gift to the current President of Israel. They sent him an elaborate box with a note. The President opened the box and saw that the content was feces ( shit).

The note said “ To you and the people of Israel”.

Since Shimon Peres is a wise and experienced diplomat he decided to reciprocate. He sent Hamas a very nice parcel and a note.

The leaders of Hamas were surprised to receive the parcel and opened it carefully, suspecting that it might contain a bomb. They discovered that it contained a small “chip” that was rechargeable by solar energy with 1800 Terabyte memory and a 3D hologram display capable of functioning in any type of cellular phone or Tablet or laptop. In other words, the most advanced technological invention and development made in Israel.

The Hamas leaders were very impressed, until they read the note which said, “Every leader gives the best his people can produce. “

Think about it!

Extra credit

† Here’s a Meir Sheetrit story I’ve waited two decades to tell. One night, while on reserve duty (miluim) the soldiers started discussing politics. It was probably against regulations because the IDF is above all supposed to be apolitical. Still when the officers are away …

One of the great things about miluim is meeting with people who otherwise you would have no connection. This night was no exception. There was quite a spectrum of opinion from Sharon z”l supporters, from the periphery, at a time when he was still the bad-boy of Israeli politics to nice, middle-class Ashkenazis who would vote Arafat before voting Likud and one very isolated Aguda supporter. Not surprisingly we could not agree on much.

Except one thing. The one member of Knesset who had across the board respect was Meir Sheetrit.


About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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