Jerusalem mayoral candidate Rachel Azaria’s bus posters were defaced in the capital by haredi (ultra-Orthodox) extremists overnight between Sunday and Monday, shortly after the end of the observance of Tisha Be’av.
Azaria rented ads on 300 buses with the slogan “Believe. It is possible to live together.” She said she received video clips of haredim destroying the posters from haredi friends.
“This violent attempt to harm the election does not reflect Jerusalem, Jerusalemites or the haredi population of the city,” Azaria said. “This was just an extremist fringe group. We in Jerusalem know how to live together in mutual respect, even if it is not always easy. We won’t let the extremists decide for us.”
This was not the first time Azaria has had to fight to get her face on Jerusalem bus ads.
In 2008, Azaria turned to the High Court after a company that worked with the Egged bus cooperative refused to put her campaign advertisements on buses because they feared a photo of a woman would upset haredim. The High Court forced the company to run the ads just three days before the municipal election.
Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin
, who is running against Azaria for mayor, condemned the defacing of her ads and called upon the police to arrest those who did the crime. He said he was especially disturbed the incident happened soon after Tisha Be’av, which marks the destruction of the two temples, the second of which was destroyed due to baseless hatred.
Elkin began his own campaign Thursday under the slogan “Jerusalem is stronger with Elkin.” The campaign emphasizes Elkin’s track record in bringing government allocations to the city. The campaign will also be on buses.
Other candidates include Jerusalem deputy mayor Moshe Lion, former deputy mayor Ofer Berkovich, haredi city councilman Chaim Epstein and former city lawyers Yossi Havilio and Avi Salman.
Deputy Mayor Yossi Daitch (United Torah Judaism) told The Jerusalem Post
Monday that he would decide whether to run by the end of the week.
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