Labor Party sitting out Jerusalem council race

“That slot it not realistic,” Shai lamented. “Labor deserves more in Jerusalem. I regret the decision that was made.”

Nachman Shai (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Nachman Shai
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Labor Party, which dominated the Jerusalem City council for decades under longtime mayor Teddy Kollek, will almost definitely have no members of the next council after the party decided to give up on the race in the capital.
Labor MK Nachman Shai considered running but decided against it after the party refused to fund his candidacy. Instead, the party will only run an as yet unannounced candidate in the seventh slot of the Hitorerut party that won four seats last election.
“That slot it not realistic,” Shai lamented. “Labor deserves more in Jerusalem. I regret the decision that was made.”
A Labor MK went further, calling it “a pathetic joke that looks ridiculous.”
Labor officials said the decision was made because Hitorerut has members of many national parties and that the party would represent Labor’s pluralist values well. The officials said Labor received more attractive offers from other lists but wanted to back Hitorerut leader and mayoral candidate Ofer Berkovich. Asked why they didn’t insist on a higher slot on the list, they said Berkovich had already made other commitments.
In recent races, Labor ran together with Meretz and with outgoing mayor Nir Barkat’s Jerusalem Will Succeed list. The Labor council member who was elected last time of the Labor-Meretz list, Itai Gutler, ended up defecting to the Yerushalmim party and then to Hitorerut.
A decade ago, Labor’s candidate on Barkat’s list was Hilik Bar, who later became an MK and the party’s secretary-general.
The Hitorerut list behind Berkovich will be city councilwoman Einav Bar-Cohen, councilman Elad Malka, and then former defense minister Moshe Arens’ daughter, Aliza Arens. City councilman Dan Illlouz, who is from Montreal, Canada, will be fifth on the list.
Arens, 62, is an architect from Jerusalem’s Rehavia neighborhood. She joins the children of the other Likud leaders at the time in entering politics, including sons of former prime ministers Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon and Yitzhak Shamir.