Elkin says he will not endorse either candidate in Jerusalem's election

Economic development of Jerusalem's haredi and Arab population was the priority of most candidates in the mayoral race.

Ze'ev Elkin
Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who lost the mayoral election will endorse neither Moshe Lion nor Ofer Berkovitch in the second round of the city’s elections, according to an interview Thursday morning on Army Radio.
“Because this is the area of my ministry, it is wrong for me to intervene in the election campaign and say who I will vote for,” Elkin said.
In Jerusalem’s first round of voting, Moshe Lion won 33% of the vote, Berkovitch 29%, Elkin finished third with 20% and Yossi Daitch won 17% of the vote.
Following Tuesday evening’s results, Berkovitch called on Elkin and haredi (ultra-Orthodox) candidate, Yossi Daitch to endorse him.
Elkin said he would use his connections in the national government to ensure that the economic development of Jerusalem’s haredi and Arab sectors would be a national priority. This was a focal point of most candidates in the race.
Elkin added that if Daitch had united with him, they would have been elected already in the first round.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who backed Elkin in the first round, told reporters on his flight to Europe that he already decided who he would endorse but would not reveal his choice yet. The prime minister added that he would pick the candidate who would work best for the city.
Netanyahu’s confidante, Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, endorsed Lion on Thursday.
Berkovitch received a boost on Thursday when soldiers’ votes gave his Hitorerut party a seventh seat in the 31-member city council, surpassing Degel Hatorah. The new council member will be Yovav Tzur, a representative of the Labor Party, who endorsed Hitorerut. Tzur is a former aide to Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog.
This came at the expense of Meretz’s second seat, and not from one of the 15 council members from the four haredi parties. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s grandson, Yonatan Yosef of the Jerusalem Meuhedet party granted the haredim a majority on the council.