This week in Jerusalem

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs

pride march in jerusalem (photo credit: REUTERS)
pride march in jerusalem
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Canceled grants
Less than a month after Jerusalem’s Pride Parade, the haredi representatives at city council have managed to retroactively cancel the city’s support for the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, an activist organization of LGBT people and their allies. At the last meeting of the committee that oversees grants and allocations, a vote of five haredi members of the committee against four members from other lists, managed to cancel the grant for the Open House. At the same meeting, the haredi representatives also canceled a grant for special activities to promote tolerance and coexistence between different communities in the city. City council member Laura Wharton (Meretz) called upon all the pluralist list members of the council to attend the next meeting of the committee in order to reverse this decision.
On the fence
Internal conflicts are complicating the decision of the leading unofficial candidate still trying to consolidate consensus support. Yossi Daitch, the haredi candidate, is still far from achieving his goal of securing the full support of all haredi factions in the city. So far, he has gained only the hassidic approval, but the large Lithuanian bloc is still hesitating. The key question for them is whether to take a chance and back Daitch, or support whichever other major candidate – namely Ze’ev Elkin or Moshe Lion – seems most responsive to the sector’s needs. Another consideration is that Shas – or at least part of its leadership in the city – seems to be leaning toward endorsing Lion, a Sephardi, as its preferred candidate. The deadline for submitting one’s candidacy is a month away – September 28.
Merely two weeks after he presented his major partners on his list, candidate Avi Salman is facing a serious problem: one of his former assistants is accusing him of serious transgressions. In a series of posts published on his Facebook account, Itzik Magrefta, until recently one of Salman’s closest supporters, wrote that Salman is on drugs and involved in criminal organizations. Asked about these declarations, Salman immediately rejected the accusations and declared that he will sue Magrefta and anyone else accusing him of such things. Magrefta hasn’t retracted his accusations and promises he will continue to reveal all he knows about Salman for the sake of justice and the people of Jerusalem.