The fifth son

Maybe the son who doesn't want to answer made a cameo appearance at the city council meeting last week.

4 sons 88 (photo credit: )
4 sons 88
(photo credit: )
There are four sons at the Seder table - the wise, the evil, the simple and the one who doesn't even know how to ask a question. So who's missing? Maybe the son who doesn't want to answer, who made a cameo appearance at the city council meeting last week. At city council meetings the mayor is supposed to respond to questions posed by the city councillors. But sometimes, the mayor's answers don't really help to clarify the issues. In fact, sometimes they actually make things more complicated. City council member Dalia Zommer (Shinui) merely wanted to know with how many non-profit welfare associations the municipality has written contracts. As a corollary, Zommer also wanted to know how much had been paid to these associations in the years 2000 and 2005. The questions were precise. The answers were vague, evasive and confusing. The municipality "estimates," the mayor responded, that the municipality has contracted with "about seven hundred" associations. And the municipality "estimates" that the sums of money that have been paid to those associations totals "several hundred million shekels." Doesn't this municipal son use computers? Or keep records? Is that too much to ask, she demanded. The truth is that the total sum is precisely recorded - somewhere among the 800-plus pages of the municipal budget. It appears that according to the sons of Safra there is no need for the heads of the welfare department to know exactly how much money is going to welfare and certainly no reason for them to be able to obtain such an answer at the click of a computer mouse. Other than these petty disturbances, the city council meeting was festive, indeed. First, the councillors paid adieux to the former municipal engineer, Uri Sheetrit and handed him a huge bouquet of flowers. Then they welcomed Yossi Daitch, the newest city council member from United Torah Judaism, who, it so happens, is also MK Meir Porush's closest and most valued assistant. That's the very same Porush who, according to the latest gossip in the haredi corridors, will be the next mayor, to be chosen by the haredi constituency in Jerusalem. Lupolianski welcomed Daitch very warmly, it should be noted, even though it is rumored that for some of the haredim, Lupolianksi is too buddy-buddy with Jerusalem's secular residents. But without a doubt, the most exciting moment was the moment that didn't happen. The first item on the agenda was supposed to have been the instigation of proceedings for the removal of the municipal legal advisor, Yossef Havilio. But his name wasn't on the agenda. Not this time. Actually, not the last time, either. Mayor Uri Lupolianski, who is not on speaking terms with his adviser, did manage to bring one member of the opposition over to his side. After much politicking, Meir Tourjeman from Nir Barkat's list will reportedly join with the coalition and vote to oust Havilio. But Lupolianski's assistants were not convinced that success was in their pockets and so they convinced the mayor to wait for another city council meeting. And so, after most of the guests and even some of the city councillors had already left, the mayor led those who remained in a toast for a happy Pessah.