With less than two years remaining until the next election for mayor and city council, things are warming up.The facts on the ground – the actions and declarations for and against a more “halachic” direction – bring to mind the situation eight years ago. Former mayor Uri Lupolianski combined efforts with his mighty deputy, Yehoshua Pollak, to impose (as much as possible) religious restrictions on all public activities; this drove a large number of residents to vote a secular mayor into power in 2008.Eight years have passed since Nir Barkat was swept into the mayor’s office by a wave that put the voice of the secular and pluralist sector in the city “on the map,” and it seems nothing has changed. Perhaps things are even worse. Following a string of accusations and counter-accusations between sectors with each side claiming to be acting on behalf of the status quo between religious and secular groups, things have never been so bad.The latest blow could be the new request of the haredi sector to impose a more severe implementation of the status quo. The recent request of the haredi representatives at city council (and part of the mayor’s coalition, one must remember) would prohibit any Shabbat activity in any institution that belongs to the municipality or is financially supported by it – partly or totally. This request, which has never been proposed in the past, is viewed by some non-religious residents as no less than a declaration of war.This request could mean that the Israel Museum, the Science Museum, the Cinematheque and more are on the list for possible Shabbat closure.That puts us far beyond the local struggle between haredi and secular residents in Kiryat Hayovel over screening a movie in the community center on Fridays evenings.While radicalism seems to be trending on all sides, there are also attempts to keep matters civil. However, according to sources inside Safra Square, there is only a slim chance for moderation to prevail among the parties.The committee established by Barkat last month to calm down the situation and find solutions for the conflict has provided a little light in this tunnel.Barkat proposed to operate on the basis of the Zomet Institute, an organization that develops halachic solutions through the use of technology – including Shabbat elevators and time switches – to enable various activities on Shabbat.The idea for public spaces and venues to function on Shabbat through use of such halachic technologies is not new. It was proposed a few years ago by the “Tikun” movement led by Dr. Meir Buzaglo of the Hebrew University, who suggested that venues should be allowed to open on Shabbat without desecrating the day, thereby enriching community life.The council of community centers took initial steps in that direction and together with the Tnua Yerushalmit, launched several such activities, which received an enthusiastic response, especially from young families, religious and secular.In some cases, this could provide an answer, but it will, sadly, apparently not work on a large scale.The problem is more complex than a halachic solution for this or that activity on Shabbat in a community center for three major reasons.First, the Zomet Institute is connected with the Zionist-religious sector. It has no standing in the eyes of the haredim, who ignore it and won’t make use of its solutions. Second, particularly in Kiryat HaYovel, not of all the activists against haredi hegemony are moved by the will to enable some community activities on Shabbat. Some of the secular residents there have a more radical agenda. They do not seek a pluralistic and inclusive policy, but rather wish to prevent any possibility of coexistence in the public space. They seek to prevent haredim from living in the neighborhood by preventing, for example, the opening of haredi kindergartens and schools.The third and probably most potent reason that this initiative is a non-starter as elections approach. Elections, sadly enough, usually generate more radical discourse, not logical and tempered actions.