Sir, – With regard to “Mayors of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa reelected in
municipal races” (October 24), residents of our capital city are fortunate that
Moshe Lion lost. But we are not especially fortunate that Nir Barkat
Indeed, the tepid turnout among the sort of voters who care about
our city (as opposed to those who vote like sheep at the behest of crooked and
less-crooked rabbis) should give the incumbent pause.
victory could easily spell tomorrow’s trouncing unless very serious steps are
taken to build the city’s commercial appeal, make affordable housing available
and radically expand the base of households that pay municipal
Achieving these goals will take iron will. It would mean standing
up to both the politically monolithic haredim, who have zero interest in the
overall health and well-being of the city, and to the rapacious business
interests that have turned our irreplaceable real estate into a feeding frenzy
for absentee showoffs with bottomless pockets.
Suffice it to say that the
ward heeler who came knocking on my door on Barkat’s behalf confided in me that
he and his young family would be fleeing Jerusalem, as he believed there was no
way he’d find suitable employment or an affordable apartment in his beloved
Sir, – I’m disgusted by the very low
turnout for local elections (“Voter turnout low across country in municipal
races,” October 23).
Anyone who could vote but didn’t doesn’t deserve to
live in a democracy. They have now forfeited any right to complain about
decisions made by elected officials that they don’t agree with.
enough parties to choose from, even if you have to hold your nose while you
vote. Having a party with at least some policies you like is
Sir, – As one of the persons shown in
the photo accompanying the article “Eight arrested for voter fraud in Beit
Shemesh” (October 23), I can tell you we were in fact protesting the banner,
which said, “True religious Jews vote Abutbul.” The signs in our hands read:
“Vote for whomever you want, but don’t let them tell you who the ‘true’
religious Jews are.”
After seeing the sign by the polling station, I and
so many others were appalled at the sheer chutzpah.
This was the same
campaign in which imagery included haredi children behind barbed wire, evocative
of a “holocaust” that would evidently take place for the religious citizens of
Beit Shemesh should challenger Eli Cohen become mayor. It was the same campaign
where loudspeakers blasted out the prayer “Avinu Malkeinu... remove the counsel
of our enemies,” language typically reserved for the likes of Iran’s Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad. It was the same campaign whose central rallying cry was over
Cohen’s lack of a yarmulke, that he was out to destroy the religious character
of the city and the Torah sages forbade voting for him.
I understand that
the unfortunate nature of elections is that they often devolve into negativity
and lies. But what I find so disturbing here is not simply the abysmally low
level of degrading and offensive rhetoric – it is that the more thoughtful and
conscientious religious Jews among reelected Mayor Moshe Abutbul’s supporters
did not speak out against it.
The elections are over but the defeat is
not merely that of a much-maligned Eli Cohen – it is people’s religious ideals
and sincerity coming in second place to their communal and political
affiliations. If we intend on building a productive and peaceful society here in
Israel, this is a defeat we must all commit ourselves to
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