The Latest On Israeli Municipal Elections


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Degel’s Internal Battle for the Jerusalem Leadership Position After Pindrus’ Departure

Degel Hatorah’s fight surrounding the Jerusalem mayoral race continues, without pause.

The inner party picture is one of machlokes at present, as Yisrael Kellerman and Eliezer Ruchberger view themselves as the successor to Yitzchak Pindrus as the party’s leader in the capital. Pindrus has left the list to become the Degel Hatorah candidate in the Elad mayoral race.

Kellerman is backed by MK Uri Maklev, as he served as an aide to Maklev in the past. Ruchberger on the other hand has an open door to Knesset Speaker and has been the dominant personality in the party in Yerushalayim during the last term. Most signal that the first place will likely go to Kellerman and if they receive a deputy mayoral post, they will rotate between themselves.

What has been decided is that Moshe Gura is going to be in the third slot, today serving as the principal of Yeshivas Beit Shmuel. He is moving up from fourth slot as a result of Pindrus’ departure.

Chassidic List Submitted to Election Committee in Rehovot Mayoral Race

The chassidish -social list – Agudas Yisrael headed by Pinchas Humminer was submitted Wednesday morning to the Rehovot Election Committee. Humminer: “We set off with a leading team that will bring a huge line [of voters] to the streets.”

The list, supported by circles and communities, is composed of well-known public figures in the city.

Pinchas Humminer, 42, a former member of Rehovot’s municipal council and responsible for the municipal treasury portfolio, was placed first on the list. During his tenure he became known as one of the city’s most active elected officials. Humminer holds an equivalent BA degree in education and is one of the founders of Lesova.

In second place is Ophir Azrad, a resident of the city’s HaMeida neighborhood, a social activist, an event producer and one of the founders of the Chasdei Rachamim V’Natan NGO.

Attorney Shalom Weiss, a resident of the Makov neighborhood, a Rehovot public activist and owner of an attorney’s office in the real estate field, was in third place.

In fourth place was Eli Teitelbaum, chairman of Hatzoloh Rehovot, and her serves as an active volunteer in Magen David Adom.

The first quintet is closed by IDF Major (reserves) Yaakov Weintraub of the Poalei Agudas Yisrael community, a well-known and popular figure in the streets.

Pinchas Humminer said when the list was submitted: “We have now submitted the winning social list under my leadership. We came to work for the residents of Rehovot, and B’ezras Hashem, and with your help, the residents of the city will enter the city council as a large and leading faction and an influential social force that will transform the city in all areas.”

Humminer added they will work to increase free parking areas in the city and significantly improve the cleanliness around the city and provide an address to every resident with a problem. In recent years, Humminer has handled about 2,000 requests for assistance from residents.

Support for Haifa Mayor Yahav May Bring an End to Chareidi Achdus in the City

As municipal elections around the country near, it appears the chareidim are incapable of backing a single candidate for the good of the tzibur at large, preferring to permit their own agenda dictate their decision as to which candidate to endorse.

In Haifa, where Degel Hatorah and Agudas Yisrael remained united, running under the combined Yahadut Hatorah banner, the split appears to be imminent. Working to keep the litvish and chassidish camps together, a meeting was scheduled to take place on Wednesday night, the eve of the third day of chol hamoed, between the Seret-Vishnitz Rebbe Shlita and the rav of the litvish kehilla, HaRav Yechiel Bamberger, as well as city councilman Miki Alfer.

Representatives of Agudas Yisrael on Tuesday explained they do not have the authority to accept the proposed compromise, and they are instructing chassidim to vote for the incumbent, Mayor Yona Yahav, who is not regarded as one who has befriended Yiddishkeit.

Chasidim is the city are perplexed at best, trying to understand Agudas Yisrael’s move, questioning why the harmonious relationship among chareidim in the city must be lost over the secular mayor who has not been a friend of the frum community. The compromise suggested was that each person would ask his rav for direction, and at present, it remains unclear who has come out publicly supporting Yahav for most chassidim will not vote for him.

For now, it remains somewhat of a mystery as to who is behind the move, perhaps motivated by persons working to split the chareidi camp ahead of elections. Chabad in Haifa has already announced if Agudas Yisrael publicly announces its support for Yahav’s reelection, they will not vote for Agudah in the upcoming municipal elections.

MK Gafne To Elad Residents: Our Hand Is Extended towards Sholom

Degel Hatorah on Tuesday night launched its campaign in the Elad mayoral race. Party candidate Yitzchak Pindrus was present, as were Degel MKs Moshe Gafne and Uri Maklev. Together, they extended a hand to peace, directing their statements to Shlomei Emunim, instructing the latter to abide by the agreement that was signed.

Gafne explained, “We want shalom, and the last term [of the mayor] was ok, not the best, but it was good”. He was referring to the term of Mayor Yisrael Porush, who is affiliated with Shlomei Emunim.

Gafne added, “We don’t want machlokes, but there is an agreement, and it is quite simple. It is not at all complicated. In this term, there was only one mayor as will be the case in the upcoming term in office, and there must be cooperate and there should not be machlokes”.

Maklev was less gentle in his words, calling on Shlomei Emunim to honor the agreement to prevent machlokes, but rather there should be Kovod Shomayim.

Degel mayoral candidate Yitzchak Pindrus told the crowd he asked about possibly forgoing the candidacy, but Degel officials would not hear of it, insisting they run against Porush in the city’s mayoral race.

Jerusalem Mayoral Candidate Leon Receives a Bracha from Rav Chaim Kanievsky

Moshe Leon, the candidate in the Jerusalem mayoral race supported by Degel Hatorah and Shas, on Tuesday, the first day of Chol Hamoed Sukkos, received a bracha from HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita.

Leon was attending a simchas beis hashoeva in Bnei Brak’s Mayanei HaYeshua Hospital, as was Rav Kanievsky. Leon serves as CEO of the hospital’s directorate.

Leon is fighting an uphill battle, with single digit results in elections polls. The leading candidates are Minister Ze’ev Elkin, the Likud party candidate, as well as Ofir Berkowitz, with the latter backed by the secular and much of the dati leumi population.

The chareidi candidate, Yossi Deutsch of Agudas Yisrael, is likely to drop out after making a deal with Elkin, hoping to secure the paid deputy mayoral slot following elections.

HaGaon HaRav Abarjil Announces His Backing for Berkowitz in Jerusalem Mayoral Race

To the surprise of many, HaGaon HaRav Eliyahu Abarjil Shlita, who recently stepped down from his post as Av Beis Din in the Rabbanut Yerushalayim, has announced his backing for the leading secular candidate in the city’s mayoral rav, Ofir Berkowitz.

Berkowitz visited the rav at his home and exited with a smile, as he received the endorsement of the prominent Sephardi dayan.

It is unclear why the rav would endorse the candidate which all the chareidi parties fear would further secularize the holy city if elected mayor.

PHOTOS: Dr. Aliza Bloch Officially Enters Beit Shemesh Mayoral Race

As chareidi parties continue negotiations in the hope of reaching agreement, to unify the camp behind one candidate in the Beit Shemesh mayoral race, Dr. Aliza Bloch has officially announced her candidacy. Bloch, who many view as a formidable challenger, is likely to receive widespread support from both the dati leumi and secular communities in the city.

Some of the members of her list include:
• 68-year-old Eli Peretz, who served in the fire department for 46 years and most recently, as the commander of the Jerusalem district.
• 46-year-old Zissi Maletz, who immigrated from NYC 13 years ago and hold a doctorate in psychology and is employed in a developmental center affiliated with Tel Hashomer Hospital.
• 44-year-old Tatiana Iluz-Shifuva, a manager at a Bank Yahav branch and a PTA chairperson in the city.
• 29-year-old Yossi Yankeloitz, a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh Gimmel and an engineering student.

After announcing her candidacy, the Likud in Beit Shemesh announced the party is endorsing Bloch’s bid to become the city’s next mayor as did the Bayit Yehudi party. As a result of her growing support, if the chareidim do not back one candidate, but decide to split the vote, this will increase Bloch’s chances of becoming the city’s next mayor.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)