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Who are the winners and the losers in the race for Jerusalem's representation on the Labor Party Knesset list?

yuval elbashan 88 (photo credit: )
yuval elbashan 88
(photo credit: )
The Labor Party reserved the 32nd place on their list for a Jerusalemite - hardly a guarantee that Jerusalem would be represented in the next Knesset. Haim Illuz-Ayalon, 52, once a Black Panther in the Musrara neighborhood and today a respectable businessman, has won the (somewhat dubious, given the position) honor to represent Jerusalem. Unlike some of the other members of the Black Panther movement of the 70s, Illuz-Ayalon didn't turn from social protest to politics. Rather, he turned to academia, earning a BSW in social work, an MA in public administration, and recognition for his programs to engage citizens in programs designed to beat poverty. He has been a special consultant to Amir Peretz, most notably when Peretz served on the Knesset's social welfare commission. Rafa Ben-Shoshan, an expert in computerized systems, lost to Illuz-Ayalon. Ben-Shoshan was one of the founders of the Oded movement, which, in the 1970s, encouraged youth from the periphery to reach universities and get involved in social causes. Naftali Raz also ran and lost to Illuz-Ayalon. One of the founders of the Peace Now movement, Raz holds the most "political" agenda of the local candidates. During the days of the Vikki Knafo movement, Raz spent many days and evening in the encampment near the Finance Ministry, convinced the revolution had finally come in Knafo's walking shoes. The question why someone who earns his living quite nicely would decide one morning to drop everything and devote himself to politics - without any real chance of getting anywhere - points to a beliefs and strategies that extend beyond the next general elections. Raz took his chances out of deep political belief and commitment. Ben-Shoshan and Illuz-Ayalon, on the other hand, are focusing on the time that will come after the primaries. After all, some day, the Labor Party will finally come to admit and recognize that there's an important city here, and will finally, after so many years, submit a real candidate for mayor. And when that happens - hopefully before the next municipal election campaign - both Ben-Shoshan and Illuz-Ayalon will be perfectly perched for consideration for the position of mayor. So neither of them was particularly devastated by the results. Several prominent, and some not-so-prominent, Jerusalemites did try to reach realistic places on the list. But despite all their efforts, not even one of them made it. Attorney Yuval Elbashan is considered one of the people closest to Amir Peretz and is largely credited with authoring the Labor Party's strategic and political platform. Elbashan was elected to the 34th place on the list - a slot for which he didn't have to struggle, since it is reserved for the representative of the "social change organizations" and Elbashan ran unopposed. The most recent polls indicate that anything past the the 22nd place on the list has no chance of entering the Knesset's hallowed halls, but despite this, Elbashan remains confident and serene. In the latest polls, the Labor Party isn't reaching anything near the 22nd place. "Some of the polls show that the party is gaining strength. Today my place is not realistic, but maybe in a couple of weeks it will be," he said. In any case, Elbashan never intended to represent the city for the party or in the Knesset. "I am very close to Amir Peretz and my influence over the party is not in question," he said. Elbashan may remain assured, but Tammi Molad-Hayo, his long-time colleague and partner in social and economic struggles, didn't express the same confidence. Molad-Hayo, closely allied with Ami Ayalon, had decided to run on the general list and not on the Jerusalem list, gambling for a more realistic slot. While friends and supporters praised her political courage, the decision didn't serve her well. Ayalon garnered the No. 7 slot, but she came in as one of the last places on the list. Quips Molad-Hayo, "I'm catching up with hours of lost sleep, then I'll pull myself together and get back to the things I do best, like struggling for a better state and society." "The Knesset is very important, but it's definitely not the only place where important things are being done," she added.