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Haredi candidate announces run in Jerusalem mayoral race
Yossi Daitch unveiled his candidacy on Tuesday at a press conference in the capital’s Ramada Hotel, vowing to attract all sectors of the city even though he is haredi.
Jerusalem deputy mayor Yossi Daitch unveiled his candidacy Tuesday at a press conference in the capital’s Ramada Hotel, vowing to attract all sectors of the city even though he is haredi (ultra-Orthodox).

Daitch (Agudat Yisrael) will run under the slogan “Jerusalemite in his soul” to emphasize that he has lived in the city and been involved in local politics longer than any other candidate. Campaign ads that will start next week will call him the candidate not just for haredim but also for sushi eaters, Beitar fans, and museum goers.

“No one in Jerusalem has a reason for concern about what I look like,” Daitch told The Jerusalem Post’s Peggy Cidor at the press conference. “I have been holding parlor meetings for six months, appearing before many different groups – and very few were scared of what I looked like. That is very far from their worries.”

Daitch said the multiculturalism of Jerusalem was part of its strength. Nonetheless, he is expected to face an uphill battle attracting support from secular and religious-Zionist voters in a race with six other candidates.

The haredi Shas and Degel Hatorah parties have endorsed Deputy Mayor Moshe Lion. Sources close to Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin have said that they expect Daitch to quit the race ahead of the October 30 election and support him.

“I will do all I can to unite all haredim and other sectors behind me, and I will succeed,” he said. “To win, you have to stay until the end and I intend to win, so I am staying.”

Daitch’s campaign strategist is Roni Rimon, who ran Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign in 2009, when he returned to the Prime Minister’s Office despite his Likud party winning one less seat than Kadima. The campaign Rimon unveiled attacked Netanyahu for freezing construction in the city for geopolitical reasons.

“The prime minister will not close Jerusalem like the cap on a bottle,” Daitch said. “When I get elected, we will open the bottle cap. This is a critical time in the life of the city, which will decide whether Jerusalem will remain stifled or will blossom.”

Daitch vowed to strengthen control over Arab neighborhoods that have been neglected by the municipality. He promised to wake up at 4 a.m. and conduct surprise tours of different neigh- borhoods to make sure the city is clean.

Jerusalem under me will be a city for everyone,” he said. “My hope is that all Jerusalemites see me as their emissary, who will work for the entire city and all of its residents.”
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