Deputy Tel Aviv mayor set to run against his boss in November elections

After 10 years working for City Hall, Asaf Zamir feels ready to take the wheel.

July 10, 2018 13:28
2 minute read.
THE TEL AVIV skyline; the area around the city is home to many Israeli start-ups

THE TEL AVIV skyline. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Asaf Zamir announced Monday that he will run in the October 30 mayoral elections, competing against long-time mayor Ron Huldai.

Zamir became Israel's youngest deputy mayor in the country's history when he took the post in 2008, at the age of 28.

A decade later, he feels ready to rule the roost.

Announcing his candidacy via Facebook, Zamir wrote: "This decision did not come easily to me. Mainly because I know the weight of the job and the intensity of the responsibility placed on the shoulders of the person who will lead our beloved city to a better future. One that will realize its full potential and turn it into a global leader in urban management, such that the quality of life of the residents living there will be the best that can be provided." Zamir noted that he grew up in Tel Aviv, and that he is a fourth generation resident of the city. "My grandfather was the police chief of [Tel Aviv's first mayor] Meir Dizengoff. I breathe it [Tel Aviv], I dream about it at night, and know it like the back of my hand," he wrote.

Zamir is a co-founder and chairman of the Rov Ha'ir (The Majority of the City) party.

He is responsible for the fields of education, community and youth, and planning and building in the municipality.

Outlining his vision for Tel Aviv, he said: "I want Tel Aviv-Jaffa to be the best place to raise children. I want it to have the best education system possible, from birth till the end of high school." Zamir stated that he is seeking to advance urban planning to enable as many diverse populations as possible to continue living in the city.

"I want this to be the easiest city to open and run small businesses. I want to turn it into a city that prioritizes pedestrians, cyclists and public transportation users over private car users. And for this purpose I want to create an infrastructure system that will give true expression to this preference, seven days a week," he continued.

"I want to preserve the vibe of this city and make sure that even though it is still growing, it will still maintain a vibrant urban space. One that allows skaters to continue skating throughout the city, surfers to continue to surf the sea, street artists to continue to use the public space as a platform to create. Above all, it is important for me to keep our city safe, and ensure that it always upholds its values as the liberal and free center of Israel. A city that sanctifies the values of freedom and equality, and promotes a policy of equality of opportunity and of narrowing gaps," Zamir concluded.

It remains unclear who Zamir will be running against. Zionist Union MK Stav Shaffir is anther possible contender.

Science and Technology Minister Ophir Akunis opted not to run after his Likud party decided not to fund him, because polls found that Huldai would easily beat any other candidate.

Comedian Assaf Harel, who is a columnist for Haaretz, has formally announced his candidacy. Harel hosted two TV shows on Channel 10, which broke the news about his mayoral aspirations.

A spokesman for incumbent Huldai said that he is seeking reelection, and welcomed other candidates.

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.

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