Berkovitch addresses haredim: Daitch knows he'll be in my coalition

"Don't judge me by the kippah I don't wear and the beard I don't grow," said Berkovitch. "If we don't bring Jerusalem together, it will cease to exist."

Ofer Berkovitch calls for support from religious population in Jerusalem mayoral race, November 8, 2018 (Cassandra Gomes-Hochberg/Brynn Riesenberg)
Jerusalem mayoral candidate Ofer Berkovitch called for haredi (ultra-Orthodox) support, saying that Yossi Daitch “knows he will be part of the coalition I will form.”
“We should expect big surprises from haredi voters,” Berkovitch said in Jerusalem’s haredi neighborhood of Romema on Thursday. “The haredi population is complex and passing though deep changes.”
In the battle for Jerusalem’s religious voters, Berkovitch reached out to both the haredi and religious Zionist population to garner support for the upcoming second-round of elections on November 13.
“We are in a battle for the heart of Jerusalem,” he said. “The dream of connecting secular and religious people, conservatives and haredim is taking place in my movement. If we give up on it, we give up on the Israeli dream.”
“Don’t judge me by the kippah I don’t wear and the beard I don’t grow,” said Berkovitch. “Judge me by my actions of bringing people together. If we don’t bring Jerusalem together, it will cease to exist.”
Berkovitch’s Hitorerut Party won seven seats in the 31-member city council, surpassing Degel HaTorah and Shas. The candidate expressed frustration over opposing candidate Moshe Lion’s lack of seats in the city council. According to Berkovitch, this was a clear indication of Lion’s detachment from Jerusalem’s public interests and his ability to build a support base through politics only.
“I don’t need to please [Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor] Liberman or [Shas leader Arye] Deri,” he said, hinting at Lion’s alliances. “Decisions from above don’t work here; Jerusalem’s decisions have to come from within,” Berkovitch remarked.
In the ten years of his political career, Berkovitch focused on working within the city council of Jerusalem, and avoided becoming involved in national politics. “I don’t need to report anything to anyone, except for Jerusalemites, whom I actually work for,” he said.