Two brothers who have reportedly not spoken with each other in years are facing off in the mayoral race in the small city of Nesher, near Haifa.
While there are five candidates for mayor, today’s election between incumbent David Amar and his younger brother, Mashiach, has drawn national attention because of their very public clash and their prominence in the local community.
David, 72, has been mayor for 25 years.
Mashiach, 63, has been the chief of the city’s religious council for 20 years. The brothers faced off in two Likud primaries this year, and Mashiach won both. Instead of stepping down, David decided to run on his own independent list, called Nesher B’tnufa. Both campaigns claim the events of the past year have been perplexing.
“I do not know what is behind his running against me. No one knows,” David told Ma’ariv in August. He did not respond to phone calls or emails yesterday seeking comment.
Gil Mizrahi, a spokesman for Mashiach, responded that while David used to be the “best mayor not in Nesher but in all the country,” David has let the city slip in recent years. The spokesman noted that the elder brother is facing an indictment for allegedly altering zoning permits for his home.
“I think his brother will be a better mayor than he is,” Mizrahi said, noting that the two brothers have not spoken to each other in more than three years.
He added that Mashiach was confused why David decided to continue running.
“All the citizens – not only Mashiach – but all the people of Nesher took it as a shock, because David Amar was in the Likud for as long as I know myself,” Mizrahi said.
One candidate for Nesher City Council said that even though the brothers are clashing, the thought of a new mayor from the same clan is concerning.
“We are not in Saudi Arabia,” said Elis Goldman, who is running for city council on the list of mayoral candidate Elie Kolas.
“It’s not a monarchy. It’s not right that it runs in the family. This is a democracy and hopefully the citizens of Nesher will see that,” she said.
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