Grapevine: Political successes – and successors

POPULAR BEERSHEBA Mayor Ruvik Danilovich won a resounding landslide victory in the municipal elections, garnering 92.2 percent of the votes.

Rubik Danilovich (photo credit: Yocheved Miriam Russo)
Rubik Danilovich
(photo credit: Yocheved Miriam Russo)
IN THE haredi city of Elad, Israel “Sruli” Porush not only confirmed a political dynasty, but created a revolution by becoming the city’s first Ashkenazi mayor. His predecessors, Yitzhak Idan, Tzvika Cohen and Tzuriel Krispal, are all members of Shas. Porush is the son of MK Meir Porush, who for 13 years was a member of the Jerusalem City Council, where at one stage he also served as deputy mayor. The younger Porush, one of 12 siblings and a ninth-generation Jerusalemite, is also the grandson of the late Menachem Porush, who was an MK from 1959 to 1994 and also served as deputy mayor of the capital from 1969-1974.
In Beit She’an, which for years has been a bastion of the Levy family, Jackie Levy, one of 12 offspring of former three-time foreign minister David Levy, lost out to Rafi Ben-Shetrit. It was a very close call, with Ben-Shetrit beating Levy by only 99 votes. Before embarking on a career in national politics, David Levy was also mayor of Beit She’an.
But the Levy family has not faded from the political scene. One of David Levy’s daughters, Orly Levy-Abecassis, is an extremely active MK who is dedicated to social welfare causes. It’s possible that David Levy may also return to the spotlight; his name has been touted as a possible candidate for president to succeed Shimon Peres.
 POPULAR BEERSHEBA Mayor Ruvik Danilovich won a resounding landslide victory in the municipal elections, garnering 92.2 percent of the votes – while his rival Yaakov Ohayon received only 7.8%. Because it was widely expected that Danilovich would win, voter turnout was poor, barely reaching 33%.
This is Danilovich’s second term. In the 2008 elections, in which he stood against mentor and predecessor Yaakov Turner, he won 60% of the vote. Ten years earlier, he had worked to have Turner elected. In appreciation for his efforts, Turner appointed him to the position of deputy mayor, and made no secret of the fact that he would like to see him as his successor. But he never expected Danilovich to run against him.
During his first term, despite having to contend with Grad rockets from Gaza, Danilovich oversaw the beginnings of a major transformation of Beersheba – from the sleepy capital of the Negev to a rapidly developing metropolis.
 AMONG OTHER mayors who were reelected is Benny Kashriel, the mayor of Ma’aleh Adumim, who was elected to a fifth term. But no one can beat the record of Israel’s longest-serving mayor Shlomo Buhbut, the mayor of Ma’alot-Tarshisha, who has been in office since 1976 and heads the Union of Local Authorities. As was expected, Buhbut romped home yet again in last week’s elections to serve his eighth term.
 ALTHOUGH THE media focus in Nesher was on brothers David and Mashiach Amar, who were each among the five candidates vying for the position of mayor – which David, the elder of the two, had held for 25 years – neither succeeded. The new mayor is longtime Nesher council member Avi Beinamo.
 NONE OF the candidates of the political parties represented in the Knesset succeeded in getting elected to the Bnei Brak municipal council. Though known as a religious city that is home to some of the country’s greatest rabbinical authorities, Bnei Brak has had non-haredi and even secular representatives on its city council – but not after the last elections, in which all the members of the council are haredi, with 17 mandates given to United Torah Judaism and six to Shas.
 THE HOME of master carpenter Shlomi Dadon in Kiryat Motzkin has become a place of pilgrimage for young women wanting to meet Mr. Right, young men looking for Ms. Right and barren women hoping to conceive a child.
What’s so special about Dadon’s home? According to a Ma’ariv report, it houses Dadon’s showroom, where displays include a special chair he fashioned for the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Dadon specializes in synagogue furniture and was commissioned some 10 years ago to design and make a throne-like chair for Yosef to sit on during a massive rally in Tel Aviv. Yosef did not want to take the chair home, even though he had admired it greatly. So it was returned to Dadon’s showroom and was sent to any major event in which Yosef participated.
Because it is so ornate, as well as because of the persona for whom it was crafted, visitors to the showroom began to sit on it – and discovered to their great delight that certain wishes they had were coming true. Word spread and people who have absolutely no relationship with Shas began queuing up, and sitting in the chair with allegedly miraculous effects.