A poll fielded by the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reveals that two thirds of the Israeli public believes President Moshe Katsav must resign his post due to the police recommendation to indict him on major charges including obstruction of justice, sexual misconduct, and rape.
In comparison, 24 percent of the public believe he should stay in his post, and 10 percent said they did not know or had no opinion on the matter.
So now that the Israeli public has made it clear they don’t want Katsav as their president, who do they support? Over the past weeks, and in light of the brewing scandal within the President’s residence, several names have been mentioned. Among them is the eternal presidential candidate and current Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres who had lost the bid for the position to none other than the current President Moshe Katsav.
This time around, however, things might be looking better for Peres as the poll reveals he is the public’s favorite for the position with 42 percent support. In second place, with 16 percent we find Rabbi Israel Meir Lau who served as Israel’s Chief Rabbi and is currently the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv. In third place, with 10 percent is Likud MK and former Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin.
Far behind them we can find names like Prof Amnon Rubenstein with 7 percent, renowned author Amos Oz with 4 percent, MK Colette Avital (Labor) with 3 percent, and industrialist Eli Horwitz with 1 percent.
Although at this time, and as indicated from the public’s wishes, Shimon Peres seems to be the frontrunner. But that just might not be good enough. The reason is simple: it is not up to the public to decide who will be president, but it is up to the Knesset to vote on their favorite candidate. Currently, voices from inside the legislative body indicate that MK Reuven Rivlin is the favorite to be elected for the post.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also chimed in on the issue and said that it might be time for the post of president to be filled by a non-partisan figure that will not come from within the Knesset. One name that has been tossed around and is considered Olmert’s top candidate is writer and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel.