Shifting allegiances

Political activities around Jerusalem.

JERUSALEM MAYORAL candidate Avi Salman (photo credit: ILAN AMOUYAL)
JERUSALEM MAYORAL candidate Avi Salman
(photo credit: ILAN AMOUYAL)
In the framework of his mayoral campaign, Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin wrote on Facebook, “Jerusalem belongs to all – religious, haredim, secular and traditionalist.”
Apparently he forgot to mention the 380,000 Arab residents of the city, who represent about 40% of it’s population.
New alliances
After she met and heard various proposals from almost all the candidates for mayor, city council member and former president of Yerushalmim list at city council Fleur Hassan-Nahoum decided to join candidate Ze’ev Elkin. Hassan-Nahum will be his No. 2, which means that she has a very high chance of being deputy mayor. Hassan-Nahoum decided to quit the Yerushalmim list after MK Rachel Azaria announced her return to city affairs and won the vote of the list to elect her – instead of Hassan-Nahoum – at the head of the list. No. 3 on Elkin’s list is Yehuda Ben-Yosef, president of the East Talpiot local council. Ben Yosef, 58, founded Beit Hatzayar, a school for children with special needs, and is president of the Kurdish community in Jerusalem.
End of the game
The police investigation (that took almost 10 months) of the suspicions against Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman have resulted in a recommendation for a trial. Turgeman, who hasn’t yet officially canceled his candidacy for mayor, is suspected of fraud, theft, breach of trust (in his capacity as president of the local planning and construction committee) and corruption through his position in approving several projects. Turgeman hasn’t been allowed to enter his office at Safra Square since the beginning of the investigation. Last month, his campaign headquarters disbanded and most of his supporters transferred their allegiance to the Hitorerut list and its candidate Ofer Berkovitch.
Defacing posters
NIS 300,000 – that’s the amount of money that candidate MK Rachel Azaria lost when vandals tore posters with her photo from buses in the city. She said it was part of the money she raised for her campaign, and that for now, she has no way to replace it. As a result, Azaria will be the only candidate whose face won’t appear on buses in the city until the elections. She says she is profoundly hurt and that she hasn’t heard any protest from the other candidates regarding this egregious act. In one of her videos, she called them all “rabbits” (a term that in Hebrew means cowards). Candidates Ofer Berkovitch and Yossi Havilio protested the accusation, insisting that they did condemn the vandalism.
Forming alliances
As the municipal elections approach, rumors of alliances – new ones and broken ones – are rife. One of interesting aspect of this is the demand for haredi women for secular lists. Candidate Yossi Havilio has announced that he is reserving the second place on his list for a haredi woman, although he hasn’t revealed her identity yet. In order to facilitate that, Herzl Yehezkel, formerly No. 2 on Havilio’s list, has agreed to move to the No. 3 spot.
Pnina Pfeuffer secured a spot in the Yerushalmim list, and another haredi woman will be listed in Moshe Lion’s list, although her identity has not yet been made public.
On another matter, Havilio and Berkovitch have agreed in principle to conduct a poll to see which of the two has the best chance to win. Presumably, all should line up behind the candidate with the best chance.
Additionally, Yoel Burstein, well known to the Anglo community in the city, has been named No. 4 on Lion’s list.
Two Jewish Homes
City councilman Arieh King has left the Bayit Yehudi list, and has formed his own list – “Meuhadim” (United) – with Dov Kalmanovitch, Yonathan Yosef (grandson of the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef) and activist Arieh Orange on his list. King’s list is separate from the official Bayit Yehudi list led by deputy mayor and president of local finance committee Hagit Moshe, and hence the city council has two lists identified with the national religious sector.
Haredim here and there
Following his success at the hassidic council to be accepted as their representative in the elections, Deputy Mayor Yossi Daitch is now engaging in the next phase of the battle – to obtain the support of the Lithuanians in the haredi sector and the United Torah Judaism party. Now Daitch has to convince them that one split in this sector is more than enough – with the decision of Haim Epstein to run separately for mayor with a list of his own – and therefore the rest – both hassidic and Lithuanians, should run together. For the moment, it seems that this is going to be a tough battle, as it has to overcome not only the plan of some of the Lithuanians to run their own candidate – Itzhak Pindrus in this case – but also to overcome the hostility and battles being waged by the party’s Knesset representatives.