Porush likely candidate for J'lem mayor

Haredi sources to 'Post': Lupolianski will honor rotation pact between hassidim, Lithuanians in UTJ.

MK Meir Porush 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
MK Meir Porush 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Barring any last minute surprises MK Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) will replace incumbent Uri Lupolianski as the haredi community's candidate for mayor of Jerusalem in the November 11 municipal election. Haredi sources close to Porush told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that Lupolianski would honor a rotation agreement signed between the hassidic and Lithuanian factions within UTJ. Lupolianski's honoring of the agreement paves the way for Porush to become the capital's next haredi mayoral candidate. Lupolianski belongs to the UTJ's Lithuanian Degel Hatorah faction while Porush belongs to the primarily hassidic Agudath Yisrael faction. These two factions signed an agreement more than five years ago that stipulates that in the upcoming election a representative from Agudah would replace Lupolianski and run for mayor of Jerusalem. Agudath Yisrael itself is composed of several hassidic sects. On the national level the largest of these is Gur, which traditionally chooses Agudah's first and second Knesset seats. However, in Jerusalem Gur's representation is relatively weak. As a result, Porush, who enjoys strong support from various hassidic sects in Jerusalem, is expected to clinch the candidacy. Boyaner Hassid Porush has tense relations with Ya'acov Litzman, who hold's Agudath Yisrael's No. 1 slot in the Knesset and is a Gerer Hassid. Rivalry between the two men was apparent during the recent municipal elections in the haredi city of Betar Illit. Porush and Litzman ended up supporting opposing political parties. Nevertheless, Litzman and Porush are expected to put aside their differences for the sake of unity. All haredi politicians - including Shas and Degel Hatorah - are acutely aware that a splintered haredi camp would likely result in the election of a secular mayor. Both Nir Barkat, a former high-tech entrepreneur and Arkadi Gaydamak, the Israeli-Russian billionaire, are expected to run. Meanwhile, Shas is expected to strike a deal with Porush in exchange for Shas support while Degel Hatorah is already promised the most attractive municipality portfolio as part of the rotation agreement. On Thursday Porush was chosen as Jerusalem's mayoral candidate by Shlomei Emunim, which represents a mix of smaller hassidic sects including Sanz, Skverer, Arloi, Seret-Viznitz, Karlin and Rachmastrivkeh. Shlomei Emunim is the largest faction making up Agudat Yisrael's secretariat in Jerusalem, comprising 10 of the 25 seats. The hassidic sects making up Shlomei Emunim have strong historical ties to Jerusalem. The Porush family in particular is identified with Jerusalem, boasting 10 uninterrupted generations as Jerusalemites. On August 11, one day after Tisha Be'Av, Agudath Yisrael's leadership in Jerusalem is expected to approve Porush as its official candidate for mayor.