Daphni Leef won't run in TA mayoral race

After mulling running for city mayor, 28-year-old tent protest founder announces of Facebook that she "has other plans."

March 31, 2013 23:25
1 minute read.
Dafni Leef [file]

Dafni Leef 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Social justice movement leader Daphni Leef said Sunday that she will not be running in Tel Aviv's next mayoral elections, after having previously said that she was considering the position.

Announcing her decision of Facebook, the 28-year-old Tel Aviv woman who started the social justice protests of summer 2011 said that she had "other plans."

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Last week, after unknown persons created a Facebook event called “E is for elections – the official campaign launch for Daphni Leef for mayor of Tel Aviv-Jaffa,” Leef wrote  on her Facebook page: “I can’t lie, I am thinking about this seriously. I still haven’t decided whether to run or not.”

Leef also issued a Passover greeting, saying, “I hope that after the holidays, we will go back to struggling for a more just society – one free of arrogance or the enslavement of anyone. Okay, that’s totally optimistic. But its okay to dream, even preferred. Giant hug.”

If she had decided to run in the October 22 elections, she would have faced incumbent Ron Huldai, who has served as mayor for the past 15 years.

Other candidates could include Hadash MK Dov Henin, who ran in the 2008 elections against Huldai on the City for All ticket, placing second with some 38 percent of the vote. If he were to run, Henin would likely attract much of the same crowd that would have potentially voted for Leef, as would the Meretz party list, for which MK Nitzan Horowitz has been mentioned as a potential candidate.

In the summer of 2011, Leef became one of the most famous people in the country after she started a Facebook page calling on Israelis to join her in pitching a tent on Rothschild Boulevard to protest high rent prices. The protest began slowly on July 14, but by the end of the weekend, it had become a media phenomenon – and Leef became the face of a movement that saw some of the biggest demonstrations in the country’s history.

While other protest leaders like Stav Shaffir and Itzik Shmuli decided to run in the last national elections – and won seats in the Knesset with the Labor Party – Leef turned down numerous offers to join party lists, and has largely remained distant from the public eye.

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