Incumbent Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat will easily defeat his Likud-Beytenu
challenger, Moshe Lion, in the October 22 municipal election, according to a
Ma’agar Mohot poll published Friday on the cover of the Ma’ariv
The poll of 523 respondents representing a sample of the adult
population in Jerusalem found that 42 percent support Barkat and 14% back Lion.
The poll was taken Wednesday and Thursday and had a 4.5 percetage points margin
A huge percentage of respondents, some 43%, declared themselves
undecided two weeks before the election.
That number is thought to
include a large percentage of haredim whose rabbis have not told them which
candidate to support yet.
Lion’s primary supporter, Yisrael Beytenu
leader Avigdor Liberman, expressed confidence that Lion would still win the
race. In weekend interviews, he said there were 34,000 non-haredi Jerusalem
residents who had made commitments to vote for Lion. Together with the
overwhelming majority of haredi voters, that could be enough to win the
Channel 2 reported Saturday night that Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu had sent letters of endorsement to all 43 Likud mayoral candidates in
the municipal races, except Lion, who was director- general of the Prime
Minister’s Office in Netanyahu’s first term. Netanyahu is considered close to
Barkat, who recently named a junction on Jerusalem’s Menachem Begin highway for
the prime minister’s late father, Prof. Benzion Netanyahu.
“I have no
doubt that the prime minister will support me in the end,” Lion told Channel
Barkat accused Liberman of threatening Netanyahu to try to get him to
support Lion, a charge that both Liberman and Netanyahu’s office
Lion got into trouble on Thursday when confronted with a quiz on
Jerusalem trivia in an interview with the news portal Walla. The candidate, who
moved to Jerusalem recently from Givatayim, was unaware that movie theaters
operate in the capital on Shabbat, that a famed theater had closed 15 years ago,
and that Mifgash Hasheikh is a popular bakery in Jerusalem’s Talpiot industrial