Jerusalem may­oral race en­ters last lap

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY AN­SHEL PF­EF­FER JERUSALEM

THE FOUR candidates vy­ing for the job of Jerusalem’s mayor in the elec­tions that will take place on Novem­ber 11 have been fi­nalised.

The two front-run­ners are MK Meir Porush of United To­rah Ju­daism (UTJ), rep­re­sent­ing Jerusalem’s strictly Or­tho­dox com­mu­nity, and the in­de­pen­dent Nir Barkat, who has led the op­po­si­tion in Jerusalem’s City Hall for the last five years and has emerged as the cham­pion of the sec­u­lar camp.

Al­though there was un­cer­tainty right un­til the fi­nal dead­line for can­di­da­cies, cur­rent mayor Uri Lupo­lian­ski will not be run­ning for a sec­ond term, as the re­sult of a con­tro­ver­sial deal within UTJ lim­it­ing coun­cil heads to only one term.

Nei­ther will for­mer Shas min­is­ter Arieh Deri be in the run­ning due to the de­ci­sion of the District Court last week not to al­low his can­di­dacy since not enough time has elapsed since his 1999 con­vic­tion on cor­rup­tion charges. Mr Porush there­fore re­mains the only Charedi can­di­date.

The strictly Or­tho­dox make up about a quar­ter of the Jewish vot­ers — the Arab cit­i­zens of East Jerusalem rou­tinely boy­cott the elec­tions — and al­though Mr Porush can rely on ex­tremely high turn-out fig­ures from his core con­stituency, he needs sub­stan­tial sup­port from non-Charedi vot­ers if he in­tends to fol­low in Mr Lupo­lian­ski’s foot­steps.

His cam­paign has been run­ning posters with a smil­ing car­toon of the can­di­date and the slo­gan “Jerusalem will love Porush”, while he has been meet­ing sec­u­lar vot­ers in a bid to re­as­sure them that he will not at­tempt to en­force any form of re­li­gious co­er­cion on the city.

Mr Barkat’s strat­egy will be to try and boost turnout among sec­u­lar vot­ers who in pre­vi­ous elec­tions ex­hib­ited ap­a­thy and stayed away from the polling sta­tions.

He is also tar­get­ing the na­tion­al­re­li­gious con­stituency who are also be­ing courted by Mr Porush. De­spite pre­vi­ous talks with the main po­lit­i­cal par­ties — Kadima, Labour and Likud — it seems that none of them were in­ter­ested in wast­ing funds and po­lit­i­cal cap­i­tal in the no­to­ri­ously fickle Jerusalem con­test.

The dark horse of the race is oli­garch Arkady Gay­damak, mak­ing his first of­fi­cial foray into Is­raeli pol­i­tics.

Mr Gay­damak bought Beitar Jerusalem, the city’s most pop­u­lar foot­ball team, three years ago and is now try­ing to cap­i­talise on the own­er­ship. His cam­paign posters are in the yel­low and black Beitar colours but de­spite this, he is lag­ging a dis­tant third place in the polls.

Mr Gay­damak’s So­cial Jus­tice party is run­ning in the lo­cal elec­tions in dozens of towns through­out the coun­try, but it still is not clear whether on­go­ing crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions in Is­rael, a trial for arms-smug­gling in France and his bank de­mand­ing he re­pay mul­ti­ple loans will al­low him to mount a se­ri­ous cam­paign.

In a last-minute de­vel­op­ment, Dan Biron, a vet­eran pro­ducer and di­rec­tor an­nounced he would be run­ning for mayor on be­half of Ale Yarok (Green Leaf) the party that is cam­paign­ing to le­galise mar­i­juana.

Mr Biron said he was run­ning as “the only real sec­u­lar can­di­date” fol­low­ing Mr Barkat’s over­tures to the re­li­gious com­mu­nity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.