Cityfront: Who's in, who's out

Seven months before the elections, no one knows who's running.

lupolianski 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
lupolianski 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The next city council elections are in November, and though seven months might sound like almost an eternity in local politics, residents still don't know for sure who's going to run and who's only spreading rumors. So in the spirit of Pessah, let's try to put some order (seder) into the local political mess. Let's start with opposition leader Nir Barkat. Once an unknown quantity, in his four and a half years at the cuckoo's nest - sorry, the city council - Barkat has gained some experience and has even learned a trick or two. Despite his political zigzagging (he moved from Likud to Kadima and, according to recent reports, back to Likud) and the challenges to his leadership (his list split in two), Barkat has never stopped believing he will be the next mayor. On the haredi front, things are less clear. Officially MK Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) or his delegate, Deputy Mayor Yehoshua Pollack, will be the next haredi candidate. Nonetheless, Mayor Uri Lupolianski still hopes to nab the candidacy. In any case, we're talking about two candidates only, since no one believes that Porush would resign from the Knesset for a risky candidacy. Next up: former Shas leader Aryeh Deri. His supporters swear he wants to run, but others say the opposite. Some even insist they know his choice for deputy mayor: former Jerusalem police chief Mickey Levy. Levy was, until not long ago, himself a mayoral candidate, who enjoyed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's support. But Levy soon discovered that while prestige is nice, money is essential; since Olmert's support doesn't include party (Kadima) funding, Levy stepped down. Sources say that was the moment Deri came to him with a proposal he couldn't refuse: to be second on his list. But both deny any such deal - at least officially. One of Deri's close followers, Deputy Mayor Eli Simhayoff (Shas), hinted that he was considering candidacy, but since no one in his party rose to the challenge, he has stopped mentioning it. Last but not least: Arkadi Gaydamak. Gaydamak says he's running, but sources close to him say he will designate someone else to run at the last minute. "Since he might prefer not to present a declaration of wealth, as required [of mayoral candidates]," a source said. Meanwhile Yigal Amedi, who is affiliated with Likud, Kadima and Gaydamak's list, swears that Gaydamak's candidacy is serious. Now that we have the mayoral candidates out of the way, let's take a look at the city council candidates. There's the in-the-works Green list, with its head Arieh Hass. So far Hass has persuaded ex-Shinui member Dalia Zommer to join. Another new list forming for city council so far includes Meir Turgeman and Rami Levy, both currently city councillors,and Elie Maman, the owner of a few local magazines.