Senior members of the Likud claim that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working to convince former foreign minister David Levy to contend for the presidency in a ballot recently slated for June 10th.
Levy, who is married with 12 children, resigned from politics in 2002 after failing to acquire a viable position on Likud's list that would guarantee him a spot in the 17th Knesset.
During his illustrious career, which began in 1969 and gained steam with the Likud's rise to power in 1977, Levy served as served as Minister of Immigration and Absorption (1977-79), Minister of Housing and Construction (1979-90; 1981-84 also Deputy Prime Minister); Foreign Minister and Vice Premier (1990-92); and Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister (1996-98).
His daughter, Orly Levy-Abekasis, is currently a prominent MK for Yisrael Beutieni, known for her willingness to tackle social and women issues head-on. His son, Jackie Levy, is Beit She'an former mayor. In 2007, upon celebrating his 70th birthday, Levy indicated he might return to politics, but the promise never actualized.
According to a senior Likud source, Netanyahu's move to enlist Levy is a "plan-B" in the case that Likud Minister Silvan Shalom (whose candidacy was in doubt following accusations of sexual harassment) decides to drop out.
"Levy was asked to join the race should Silvan Shalom decided not to run," the source explained.
"For Netanyahu, a Levy run would be relevant only if Silvan drops out. If Shalom chooses not to run it will substantially increase Levy's chances."
Likud MK Reuven Rivlin is also contended for the top spot, but bad blood between him and Netanyahu has ruled out the possibility the prime minister and party would throw their support behind Rivlin.
The candidates have until the May 28th to register for the vote, which will be held two weeks later in a secret ballot among Israel's 120 Knesset members.
Nonetheless, the source said that he belives a Levy bid for the presidency will not likely actualize because of internal Likud politics. Levy and close affiliates refused to comment on the reports.
There are at present seven declared candidates for the post of 10th president of the State of Israel - veteran Likud MK Reuven Rivlin, Likud Minister Silvan Shalom (whose candidacy was in doubt following accusations of sexual harassment), Hatnuah MK and former finance minister Meir Sheetrit, Labor elder statesman and former defense minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, former Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, former Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner and Nobel Laureate Professor Dan Shechtman of the Technion.