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Friday, January 26, 2007

Druse MK next in line for presidency

Jan. 26, 2007 0:15 | Updated Jan. 26, 2007 7:52
Druse MK next in line for presidency
By GIL HOFFMAN         
With all due respect to the candidacy of Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, the next man in line to the presidency after Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik is not a rabbi.
He is not even a Jew.
The next time Itzik goes abroad, the acting president of the Jewish state will be Druse MK and Deputy Knesset Speaker Majallie Whbee of Kadima, a resident of the village of Beit Jann, near Acre.
Itzik postponed a trip to Spain on Wednesday, but is to go abroad next month. Whbee said he was looking forward to leading the country, even if it would only be temporary.
"I would rather it happened in other circumstances, but [my becoming president] proves that we Druse are partners in building this country," he said. "I served as an IDF officer for years and commanded many Jews. The responsibility will be on my shoulders to lead this country well."
Whbee would become the first non-Jewish leader of a Jewish state or monarchy since the death in 4 BCE of King Herod, a descendent of Idumean slaves whose father was converted to Judaism, but whose mother was a Nabataean.
Whbee said he would be proud to be Herod's successor. "I am glad that historically I am the first [non-Jewish leader]," he said. "I have the tools and ability to lead the country well. Herod built Jerusalem, and I hope I can follow in his footsteps and build the country well.

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