This week in Jerusalem 329007

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs: Accessible elections Election day is almost here.

A Tel Aviv man votes with his dog 370 (photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
A Tel Aviv man votes with his dog 370
(photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
Accessible elections Election day is almost here. In four days, on October 22, the question of who is in and who is out will be answered. Everyone involved is now focused on one major issue: How to get as many residents as possible to vote. Transportation, accompaniment (especially for seniors) and phone calls all require the efforts of candidates, activists and volunteers.
One of the major issues every election day is the need for accessible voting stations for the disabled. The municipality has issued a list of these stations and their addresses. By law, a disabled person whose designated station has not been made accessible has the right to vote in any of the accessible stations throughout the city. The only thing every resident has to ensure – whether disabled or not – is that his or her name appears on the list of approved voters.
How to vote Unlike in the Knesset elections, many residents have not received personal announcements and therefore don’t know where to go to vote. In such cases, there are a few options. One can simply call the party for which one plans to vote and ask it to provide the information. In some cases, the party volunteers will also transport the voters to the polls and back. Another way is to check the list on the official municipality website.
The location of your polling booth can be found, in Hebrew, at or at 1-800-800-508, in English, Hebrew, Amharic, Russian and Arabic.
In any case, for those who haven’t changed their addresses over the past year, the chances are good that the polls will be in the same location as those for the Knesset election earlier this year.
As for the ballot process itself, unlike the in the Knesset elections, every resident has two votes – one for city council, and one for mayor. Residents may vote for the candidate of their choice as mayor, but opt for a list other than that candidate’s for city council.
The ballot and envelope for the mayoral vote are yellow, while the ones for the city council are white. Voters are requested to bring along ID, such as a passport or driver’s license.
The polling booths are open between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Voting by the numbers On election day, residents of the capital will vote at 809 polls, with 121 of them in east Jerusalem and 42 offering access for people with disabilities. No fewer than 2,200 people will be on duty that day to provide information or help wherever necessary – supervisors, secretaries, observers, ushers and 70 municipal employees, among others. One hundred people at Safra Square will receive the ballot boxes at the end of the day and count the votes.
As of this writing, there are three candidates for the post of mayor: incumbent Nir Barkat; the Likud’s Moshe Lion; and Haim Epstein of the Tov list. Sixteen lists are running for the 30 seats on the city council (the 31st seat is for the mayor), and 576,406 Jerusalem residents are eligible to vote (out of the city’s total population of 884,723).
In the last elections in November 2008, 228,262 out of the 527,672 eligible voters – or 43.26 percent – cast ballots for the city council, while 228,240 (43.25%) voted for the mayor.
Additional details are available at
Fighting back As we near the end of the campaign, mayoral candidate Moshe Lion has attacked his challenger, Mayor Nir Barkat, on a radio show.
Lion reminded listeners that in the 2008 elections, Barkat was fined NIS 300,000 by the Central Elections Committee for illegal advertising. Lion’s accusations, which are based on known facts, were a blow to the position of Barkat and his supporters, which presents the incumbent mayor as a law-abiding citizen.
Meanwhile, the race between the two candidates for the support of the haredi sector is continuing, reaching a new peak of tension daily. On Sunday evening, the council of rabbis – representing the hassidic sects in the United Torah Judaism movement – issued the decision not to recommend either candidate to its members.
Observers considered this an advantage for Barkat, who feared a call obliging all hassidim to vote for his opponent.
By Tuesday evening, however, it appeared the decision was not yet final and that at least some hassidic sects would call for their members to vote only for Lion. “Barkat wants me, a hassidic Jew, and my peers out of Jerusalem,” explained Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, a Hassid and prominent supporter of Lion. “So clearly we shouldn’t vote for Barkat but for Lion, who respects us and doesn’t want to chase us out of Jerusalem.”
At press time, nothing official had been released. The Gur and Belz Hassidim will apparently not be voting for Lion, but nothing proves they will vote for Barkat (as they did in 2008, bringing him the final victory). A source inside the haredi sector says that while the general tendency there is to vote for Lion, an official call will probably not be issued, “for fear he might not win after all, and hence put the haredim in a delicate position. They fear that if elected despite their support for Lion, Barkat will make them pay for that.”
From Paris to Jerusalem, I
In what is becoming a tradition, the city’s French institute, the Institut Français de Jérusalem Romain Gary, is launching its second annual photography contest. The theme of this year’s contest, which is open to all, is “Urban Landscapes.” The contest itself is titled “From Paris to Jerusalem,” to emphasize the cultural link the center wishes to develop between the two capitals.
Registration, which opened this week and lasts until November 15, is free of charge. The top three winners will receive prizes.
For more information and registration:; (02) 624-3156.From Paris to Jerusalem, II A memorial for the late cardinal of Paris, Jewish-born archbishop Aaron Lustiger, will be inaugurated next Wednesday. The monument is in the Benedictine monastery in Abu Ghosh, on the road to Jerusalem.
Standing behind the initiative is the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France. Its president, Richard Prasquier, said the organization wanted to honor the cardinal, who never denied his Jewish identity and origin. Lustiger, who was born in 1926 and died in 2007, did much over the past 30 years as a dignitary of the Catholic church to bring Jews and Christians closer.
In total, 150 Jews and Christians will journey from Paris to Jerusalem to take part in the memorial’s inauguration. The ceremony will take place in the presence of the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Monsignor Fouad Twal, and former chief rabbi of France Samuel Sirat.
Coming home As we get closer to election day (October 22), all parties running for the city council are increasing their activities, using as many gimmicks as possible to attract attention. On Monday afternoon, the Emek Refaim street fair – postponed last week due to the funeral of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef – quickly turned into an election campaign event, with supporters running back and forth along the street and among the stands, handing out their flyers.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the capital, a large group of Hitorerut members made their way from the city entrance through the center, ending up on Emek Refaim. The goal of the march was to show that while in 2008, when Hitorerut was founded, the trend among young adults was to leave Jerusalem, today, with 35 percent more non-haredim moving here, there has been a major change.
Party leader Ofer Berkovitch, who this week received letters of support from a few members of academia, says he is confident that Hitorerut will obtain enough seats on the council to continue.
All together now Happy days are here at last! Women’s issues – their status, their ability to take part in political processes and the current situation, in which the haredi community prevents them from running for local councils – has become a major concern of women, and quite a few men as well (who are already involved in politics). Hence on Monday afternoon, a large group of representatives from almost every party (except those of the haredim and the religious) running for city council gathered at the Wohl Rose Garden, opposite the Knesset, to protest the haredi parties, which refuse to let women in their community go into politics. It’s nice to see that Hitorerut, Yerushalmim, Ometz Lev and Meretz-Labor, which recently tended to criticize each other, could agree on at least one issue and even cooperate, bearing placards in favor of women and requesting that the government stop funding parties that bar women from political activity.