(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Heads of settler councils in Judea and Samaria sent a an open letter on Thursday calling on right-wing Jerusalem residents to vote for Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze'ev Elkin in the upcoming October mayoral elections.
"Minister Elkin has supported the settlement of Judea and Samaria for many years, and contributed to the construction, development, legislation and the advancement of Jewish sovereignty [in the West Bank] in the various positions he has held over the years," the leaders of the settler council wrote in the letter.
They highlighted Elkin's support for legislation that would prevent the return of territory in the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority as part of a possible peace deal.
"Jerusalem is the heart of the Jewish people, and it deserves a mayor who sees this duty as a Zionist mission, and who has experience in advocating for Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the State of Israel.
"We are certain that Elkin will protect the unity of Jerusalem, will fulfill the vision of Greater Jerusalem and could promote the construction and development in all part of the city — both east and west," the letter concludes.
Among those who signed the letter are Shlomo Ne'eman, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council; Oded Revivi, head of Efrat local council; Malachi Levinger, head of the local council of Kiryat Arba; and Yossi Dagan, head of Samaria regional council.
Elkin announced last month that he is running for mayor of Jerusalem. Despite receiving the support of many of his Likud faction colleagues, he has yet to win the public support of its leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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Earlier this week, current Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced that he is backing Elkin. Barkat will join the Knesset race in the next general elections.
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