A leader of Israel’s solar energy industry is hoping he won’t prove powerless in trying to garner political support for a run at Israel’s presidency.
Yosef Abramowitz says he has found no shortage of political roadblocks in his attempts to gain backers, but maintains hope that a “platform of ideas” can find traction in Israel’s notoriously tough political realm.
“So far, this campaign has been only about cynical power plays, but we’re running on a platform of ideas,” he said. “I don’t have any favors to trade, but we have a platform that will strengthen Israel’s diplomatic standing… based on tikun olam (making the world a better place) and pluralism.”
While he has yet to declare his candidacy officially, Abramowitz, born in the United States, has met with 15 MKs from various parties, including Hatnua, Yesh Atid and Arab parties, but has not been able to secure any official endorsements.
According to Abramowitz, however, the absence of signatures does not indicate a lack of support in the Knesset.
“There has been a lot of interest so far, and it is a very fluid situation,” he said. “We have a lot of people who say they wish they could support us, but are worried about political retribution.”
Abramowitz is a co-founder of the Arava Power Company and current CEO and president of Energiya Global, an international solar energy venture.
If Abramowitz were to throw his hat into the race, he would bring the total to nine candidates.
Former defense minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer is currently considered the front-runner for the position after he won the Labor Party’s backing, becoming the first candidate to gain the requisite 10 signatures from lawmakers in order to run for the position.
Other candidates include Reuven Rivlin and Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom, both Likud MKs, former MK and Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky, and Hatnua’s Meir Sheetrit.
Former Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner, Tourism Minister Uzi Landau, and Dan Shechtman, the 2011 Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry, are also in the running, but their chances are thought to be slim.
The president is currently selected by a Knesset vote, but Army Radio reported last Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering extending President Shimon Peres’s term by a year to implement legislation that would move the election to a public vote in the interim.
Peres denied that report and the Prime Minister’s Office refused to comment.
Lazar Berman and Marissa Newman contributed to this report.