Beit Shemesh at a crossroads

Beit Shemesh stands at a crossroads. The upcoming elections will greatly shape our city’s future.

MOSHE ABUTBUL 370 (photo credit: Chaim Gamliel)
(photo credit: Chaim Gamliel)
As we approach the final days of the mayoral race, I believe that now is the time to examine the deeper implications that these elections hold for all of us.
In the framework of the various public offices I have held over the past two decades, especially over the past five years that I have been privileged to serve you as mayor, I always endeavored to place the citizen, rather than myself, as the focus of my efforts.
Although it may be tempting, at times, for an individual in such an influential position to cultivate their own self-image and sing their own praises, I shied away from such practices, since I believe the mayor is here to serve the public, and not the other way around.
As such, throughout my many years as a public servant, I have always viewed those who worked with me or requested my assistance equally, regardless of race, communal affiliation or religious orientation. I have always viewed my fellow residents as fellow children of God, created in his image, worthy of love, compassion and respect. This humanistic, nonsectarian approach is what led to the backing of community activists and politicians from across the wide spectrum of our diverse city for my first bid for the mayoralty five years ago.
They saw then, as many do today, that I was the candidate who seeks that which unites us all, rather than that which separates us from one another. To this day, I am truly humbled by their warmth and support.
Community activists, civic leaders, school administrators and citizens from all sectors in the city can attest that I was a faithful partner to their worthy initiatives and activities. We endeavored to provide the highest level of municipal support for projects run by community organizations and schools and advanced plans for residential developments for all sectors that comprise the multicultural mosaic of humanity that is our city.
With the wide spectrum of differing worldviews in the city, this was no easy task. But I was not looking to take life easy. On the contrary, I sought to make life easier for others. This continues to be my mission.
Beit Shemesh stands at a crossroads. The upcoming elections will greatly shape our city’s future, and I am glad to enjoy the support of many distinguished parties and individuals from all walks of life. Despite the raised tones that surround the current mayoral race, I have not and will not veer from the course that I have charted for myself since the beginning of my career in municipal government: to be everyone’s mayor, to continue to be a public figure around which the residents of this city can unite and find their common ground and universal values.
This is what led to the establishment of the Municipal Roundtable some two years ago, which has facilitated an atmosphere of cooperation and has provided a forum in which all of the city’s sectors can work together to move our city forward in an apolitical setting.
I have great hopes that Beit Shemesh, where certain fringe elements have done their utmost to foment divisiveness and strife, will indeed show its true colors, emerging as a paradigm of peace, solidarity and coexistence, sending a message of Ahavat Yisrael, love of humanity and the values of tolerance that will reverberate worldwide. If you identify with this vision strongly enough, together we can make it into reality.The author is the mayor, Beit Shemesh.