Final agreements, deals and political spin won Jerusalem mayoral election

One key activity is bargaining over the most powerful committees – finance, and planning and construction – the trophies each candidate can offer for support.

November 8, 2018 21:00
1 minute read.
DEGEL HATORAH and Agudat Yisrael councils

DEGEL HATORAH and Agudat Yisrael councils 370. (photo credit: Courtesy Moshe Goldstein)


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As of press time, six days before the run-off vote, the political arena is close to experiencing vertigo. Both candidates are busy from dawn to dusk drumming up support.

One key activity is bargaining over the most powerful committees – finance, and planning and construction – the trophies each candidate can offer for support.

Moshe Lion has managed to keep the allegiance of Degel Hatorah (some 50,000 votes) and Shas (some 25,000), but hasn’t yet succeeded in ensuring the backing of the 40,000 Agudat Israel voters. Indications are that he received merely some 5,000 non-haredi-sector votes in the first round; this explains why he failed to secure even one seat on the city council. Haredim voted for him but not for his list.

Lion gained the support of exiting Mayor Nir Barkat, although Barkat doesn’t have any minions of voters behind him to deliver to Lion. The religious sector is divided into two lists:

• Meuhadim, led by Arieh King (with 12,000 votes), moved their support from Yossi Daitch to Lion.

• Hagit Moshe (Bayit Yehudi, with 14,000 votes) threw her support to Ofer Berkovitch.

Jerusalem Will Succeed (Ze’ev Elkin’s list) hasn’t yet disclosed who they will vote for next Tuesday, but it is not clear whether the list’s two councillors – Fleur Hassan-Nahoum and Yehuda Ben-Yossef – will even support the same candidate. In any case, practically none of the Yerushalmim voters will vote for Lion.

Peleg Yerushalmi, the extreme haredi faction with some 8,000 votes, also has not declared an allegiance thus far.

As for Agudat Israel, it seems that nothing will convince their rabbi, the Gur Admor, to call on his members to vote for Lion due to the long arm of Lion’s ally, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, public enemy No.1 of those haredim who oppose the IDF draft.

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