(photo credit: PR)
Yossi Havilio, former municipal legal adviser and frequent critic of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, announced Sunday that he intends to run for mayor in next October’s election.
Havilio created a nonprofit organization called Tzahor (flawless white), which represents residents and local associations, on a pro bono basis, in cases against what they see as unfair municipal policies. He has represented secular residents who believe the mayor has not done enough to help their efforts to prevent the Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) from taking over the city.
He joins fellow former attorney Avi Salman and former deputy mayor Ofer Berkovich in the mayoral race.
“In the nine years of Barkat and Berkovich, Jerusalem went backward on almost every possible issue,” Havilio said. “Many neighborhoods have gone through a process of becoming more Haredi, there is negative migration of the young and old, and the worst problem is lack of leadership.”
Havilio’s slogan on posters and ads throughout the city will be “Havilio: Saving Jerusalem.” His campaign will focus on the city’s filth, lack of employment, lack of pluralism, high cost of living, and the secular and modern Orthodox residents who are leaving the city.
His family has lived in the city for hundreds of years; Havilio said he was worried Jerusalem could now become less open and free. He accused Barkat of taking votes of secular, traditional, and religious Zionist residents and “betraying them for political considerations.”
“Jerusalem requires an alternative,” Havilio said. “Jerusalem requires leadership to save the city from the ailments left behind by Barkat and Berkovich.”
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reported Sunday that Barkat “will soon announce his decision not to run for a third term as mayor of Jerusalem and announce his intention to run in the Likud primaries.” The Jerusalem municipality dismissed the report as a lie.
“Barkat has not yet made any decision whether to continue for a third term in Jerusalem, and he is currently focused on obtaining a proper budget from the Treasury for the continued development of the capital of Israel,” Barkat’s office said. “Only after the transfer of the budget will a decision be made on his future. Everything else is an invention that has nothing to it.”
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