JERUSALEM MAY­ORAL RACE

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The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - Be­ing a car­pet­bag­ger look­ing for a cozy sinecure.

JERUSALEM’S MAYOR Nir Barkat is step­ping down af­ter two terms in of­fice to pur­sue a seat in the Knes­set at the next gen­eral elec­tion. His de­par­ture opens a race for one of the most de­sir­able jobs in Is­rael.

The mayor of Jerusalem not only runs Is­rael’s largest city but has a high-pro­file role on the in­ter­na­tional stage.

Un­like other pre­car­i­ous po­lit­i­cal po­si­tions in Is­rael, the mayor has five un­in­ter­rupted years in of­fice and a high chance of be­ing re-elected as an in­cum­bent.

With sev­eral months to go un­til the elec­tion on Oc­to­ber 6, six can­di­dates so far have an­nounced they are run­ning and at least five oth­ers are con­sid­er­ing jump­ing in.

The two main ques­tions hov­er­ing over the race are whether Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu will en­dorse a can­di­date, and whether Strictly Or­tho­dox rab­bis will de­cide to field a can­di­date of their own or form an al­liance with one of the nonCharedi can­di­dates.

Mr Ne­tanyahu will want to be sure he is back­ing the even­tual win­ner and, if he is un­sure, may choose not to en­dorse any­one.

The rab­bis, mean­while, pre­fer not to have a Charedi can­di­date and are try­ing to per­suade one of the fron­trun­ners to prom­ise a clam­p­down on rau­cous night-life spots in the Ma­hane Ye­huda mar­ket and the restau­rant com­pound in the old train sta­tion, which is open on Shab­bat, in re­turn for their sup­port. FRONT-RUN­NERS

(1) ZEEV ELKIN

Likud’s En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter, who also holds the Jerusalem Af­fairs port­fo­lio in the cab­i­net, an­nounced his can­di­dacy last month. Mr Elkin has the ad­van­tages of cab­i­net ex­pe­ri­ence and rep­re­sent­ing the largest party. But he isn’t Likud’s of­fi­cial can­di­date — yet. Mr Ne­tanyahu is re­port­edly ir­ri­tated at his con­fi­dante’s de­ci­sion to run against his wishes, and may with­hold his en­dorse­ment and party fund­ing.

Mr Elkin is also not a Jerusalemite (though he has re­cently moved his ad­dress there) and will be ac­cused of (2) MOSHE LEON

A city coun­cil mem­ber who ran for mayor in 2013 and came sec­ond, Mr Leon is backed by pow­er­ful politi­cians in­clud­ing Shas leader Arye Deri and Yis­rael Beit­enu boss Avig­dor Lieber­man. In the pre­vi­ous elec­tion he re­ceived most of the Strictly Or­tho­dox vote.

He is also close to Mr Ne­tanyahu, for whom he once worked as di­rec­tor­gen­eral of the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice.

He has lived in Jerusalem for five years but is still con­sid­ered by many

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