Sunday, 1 March 1998

Israeli outsider in the hunt for top job

March 1, 1998

By Matthew Kalman

SHAUL Amor, a 57-year-old former social worker, will make history in Israel on Wednesday when he becomes the first person to challenge a serving president seeking a second term. The presidency, bestowed by a secret ballot of the 120 members of the Israeli Knesset, is largely a ceremonial position, but there is considerable excitement because the outcome is too close to call.

Amor has a good chance of beating the unpredictable, somewhat eccentric and massively popular president Ezer Weizman to become the first Israeli leader drawn from what he calls "the second Israel", of oriental Jews from North Africa and the Arab countries.

Two months ago, Weizman expected automatic …

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