A tale of three Uris and one Michai

POLITICS, MONEY OR BOTH? What are Uri Shetrit's plans for the future?

lupolianski 224.88  (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
lupolianski 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Who said that dramas only take place on the national political scene? Arise, all ye local patriots - once again we have proven that we can kick up some drama of our own. For weeks the rumors had been flying, and for weeks, City Engineer Uri Shetrit had denied them. No, he insisted, he had no intention of resigning. No, he has no intention of running for mayor. But when Shetrit did resign last week, it was only 24 hours after Micha Bin Nun, head of supervision and enforcement in the engineering department, had handed his own keys in. And it was only a few days before the even bigger dramatic moment - according to a haredi weekly, Lupolianski was planning to leave the municipality and run for Knesset. How the corridors were buzzing! Excitement was in the air! Who would replace Lupolianksi? Well, wagged the tails, that must be the reason that Shetrit resigned - after all, he might be denying it, the heads nodded, but that doesn't mean he isn't interested, as we all know from watching the national scene. Of course! Uri (Shetrit) would replace Uri (Lupolianski)! It all made sense - at least to those-not-in-the-know in the municipality. It seemed to matter none to them that Shetrit has done everything he can to assure and reassure that his only intentions are to make money in the private sector. Under the terms of his contract until now, he has been permitted to work in the private sector at the same time as he presided over our city as City Engineer. It is doubtful that his new contract, which would have to be negotiated in the near future, would provide him with the same opportunity. And of course, while the National Council for Planning and Construction did decide not to decide for now, the Safdie Plan isn't dead yet - and Shetrit, who considers Safdie his mentor, could certainly find some lucrative work to do there, too. Bin Nun, on the other hand, is a different story. For quite some time, he has been under tremendous pressure from the two vice-mayors - Eli Simhayoff (Shas) and Uri Maklev (Unified Torah) because of his insistence that haredim, just like Arabs and just like other Jews, should not be allowed to build illegally with impunity. Bin Nun has been heard to say that in his position he feels "abandoned," or "wounded in the field." Bin Nun had an illustrious military career and served in an elite unite - expressions such as these have true significance for him. Shetrit presented his letter of resignation to the mayor, who accepted it immediately. Bin Nun handed his letter to municipal General Manager, Eytan Meir, who refused to accept it. And so, as this column goes to print, Bin Nun is in the process of resigning from resigning - and he has apparently been given assurances that Simhayoff and Maklev will back off and that he will be allowed to do his job and enforce building codes in all neighborhoods, Oh, and the Knesset lists? Well, Uri is on his way to the Knesset - Uri Maklev, that is, not Uri Lupolianski, according to a decision in Degel Hatorah, dictated by their rabbis. Maklev will be number six on the party list - a ranking which doesn't necessarily guarantee that we won't be seeing him in the municipality after the March elections. But if he does make it, he might feel at home - a colleague from the city council, Rali Ben David (Meretz) is also running for Knesset. They could continue their debates over the future of Jerusalem in higher stratospheres. And the last Uri - Shetrit? Sources close to him say that he has never said that he doesn't ever want to be mayor of Jerusalem. "It's just that now, he has something else in mind," a source said. Leaving us to wonder, how long is "now" in engineering terms?