Officials from the Likud party have stated that Netanyahu can only run if the election of the president in the Knesset is changed from a secret ballot to an open vote. However, Shetreet, a law professor, stated that the election process officially started on April 9, three months before President Reuven Rivlin leaves office and the earliest day the election may have been held.
“The rules cannot be changed in the middle of the game,” said Shetreet.
Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin must announce a date, together with his deputies who have yet to be appointed, giving at least three weeks notice for the election, which must be held no later than June 9. Candidates require the signatures of 10 MKs to run, and the factions are expected to enable their MKs to start signing as early as Monday.
Shetreet already began discussing his candidacy with Knesset members in July, meeting with 107 of the 120 MKs in the 23rd Knesset at least once, and 40 of them twice. He has already met with 10 of the 26 new MKs in the 24th Knesset.
“I feel good about my chances based on the one-on-one meetings,” Shetreet said. “I tell the MKs they need a president who can provide depth in every field the president deals with, which I can.”
Shetreet was born in Morocco and raised in a transit camp for immigrants in Tiberias. He won the national Bible Quiz as a teen, earned a doctorate in law from the University of Chicago in just two years, and has taught at Cambridge. He still teaches law at Hebrew University voluntarily, although he is retired, and will soon publish his 26th and 27th books, two-thirds of which he wrote in English.
In his political career, Shetreet served as a Labor MK from 1992 to 1996 and held the religious affairs; science, culture and sports; and industry and trade portfolios. He later served as deputy and acting mayor of Jerusalem.
He also turned down a seat on the Supreme Court in 1988, when he thought he was too young.
“I have the political bug that makes me feel the need to contribute to society and help the public as I have my entire life,” Shetreet said. “Being president is a significant challenge, and I believe the path I have traveled and the experience I have gained give me the tools to succeed, especially at a time when so much has to be fixed.”
Shetreet’s electoral reform proposals include recruiting 40 MKs to the Knesset, which will be elected in joint municipal elections, and allowing mayors to reach the Knesset after two terms in City Hall while retaining their mayoral positions. He will mandate a minimum term for each Knesset and a limit of two terms for prime ministers.
Shetreet supports granting the leader of the largest coalition the unconditional right to enter a government if the group wins at least 35 seats, which has only been achieved in recent years by Ariel Sharon in 2001 and Netanyahu last year.
“It is right to sacrifice the president’s authority to bring about stability,” he said. “If you don’t have stability, everyone gets hurt.”
Shetreet also has a proposal to return Israel to the vision of its founding fathers in areas such as faith and state, Diaspora ties, the environment, natural resources, Israeli Arabs, and other fields.
Former Labor Party chairmen Isaac Herzog and Amir Peretz are predicted to run for president, as are former Likud MK Yehudah Glick, former Labor MK Michael Bar-Zohar, probably Israel Prize-winning educator Miriam Peretz (no relation to Amir), and singer Yehoram Gaon.