Israel Municipal Runoff Election Updates – Monday, 11/12/2018


Tomorrow, Tuesday, 5 Kislev, runoff elections will be held in numerous cities and municipalities throughout Israel, in those areas in which none of the candidates succeeded in receiving the minimum of 40% of the votes to be declared a winner in round one of voting. Those cities include Yerushalayim and Tzefas.

Unlike the Election Day for the first round of voting, tomorrow’s runoff election will not be a national holiday and polls will only open from 1:00PM to 8:00PM.

Leon Campaign HQ Files A Complaint Aagainst Candidate Berkowitz

The Moshe Leon for Mayor campaign leaders have filed a personal complaint against competitor Ofer Berkowitz, alleging his campaign has been “flooding Jerusalem with false posters and leaflets, and thus trying to incite the secular public against the chareidi public and vice versa”. The complaint was filed with Jerusalem police on Monday morning, a day ahead of the runoff election on Tuesday, 5 Kislev.

Leon’s campaign officials filed a complaint with the Jerusalem Police against Ofer Berkowitz personally, for alleged offenses of “forgery and fraud”, along with other accusations.

Before submitting the letter of complaint, Attorney Bossi, the legal advisor of the headquarters of Leon, appealed to Ofer Berkowitz to stop his actions and take responsibility for them. He explains that because the letter sent to Berkowitz went unanswered, they moved ahead with the police complaint.

“Berkowitz’s headquarters have been flooding Jerusalem since last Friday with false posters and leaflets posing as of Moshe Leon, and thus Berkowitz tries to incite the secular public in the ultra-Orthodox and vice versa”, Chareidim10 News reports, by releasing inciteful fliers as if they are in Leon’s name.

“This is serious because it is not just propaganda with a bad taste that crosses the acceptable norm, and fraud and forgery of election ads is punishable by up to seven years imprisonment.”

Moshe Leon: “It is sad to discover that behind a publicist figure lies an unbridled and quarrelsome figure who is willing to divide Jerusalem and incite the various sectors, one against the other as if there is no tomorrow and as if we are not dealing with one city. The yearning for unity and the desire that the mayor of Jerusalem be a candidate with ability, experience and responsibility will win the false fliers and the cries of Berkowitz.

“After the elections, I will form a broad and stable coalition to which I will also invite the Hisorarus despite their serious, not to say criminal, actions.”

Talks for achdus in Tzefas/Yerushalayim elections fail
Talks were held between Agudas Yisrael and Degel Hatorah representatives in the hope of achieving achdus in both the Tzefas and Jerusalem runoff elections. It is reported that the ‘secretive’ talks failed to achieve their intended results.

Talks were held in the home of HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein Shlita to decide if Degel should support the chareidi (chassidish) candidate in the Tzefas election, Nachman Gelbech, in exchange for the Moetzas Gedolei Torah of Agudas Yisrael declaring its support for Moshe Leon in the Jerusalem election.

According to a Kikar Shabbos News report, the meeting lasted 25 minutes with the participation of HaGaon HaRav Moshe Hillel Hirsch and HaGaon HaRav David Cohen. Rav Cohen favors backing the Gelbech in the Tzefas election in exchange for Agudas Yisrael backing Leon in Yerushalayim. The report continues that Rav Edelstein however expressed his opposition to such a deal. Stating Degel voters in Tzefas should vote for the secular candidate, Shuki Ochana.

Jerusalem Chassidish Councilman Calls for “Putting Differences Aside” Ahead of Runoff Election
With about 24 hours remaining to the opening of the polls in the runoff election in Jerusalem, which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 5 Kislev, City Councilman (Gerre) Yochanan Weitzman calls on his colleagues “to unite ahead of elections and put difference aside”.

That said, both HaMevaser and Hamodia on Monday morning, the day before runoff Election Day, are not endorsing Moshe Leon, the candidate endorsed by Degel Hatorah and Shas in the Jerusalem elections. in addition, Degel and Shas are not officially backing Nachman Gelbech, the chassidish candidate running against a secular candidate in the Tzefas runoff election.

Weizman released a letter to colleagues, calling for “achdus for the good of kedushas Yerushalayim…which will impact the coming five years and together, we can be MeKadesh Shem Shomayim”.

He calls for appointing a few persons to create a team that will set parameters for the new coalition towards safeguarding the character of the holy city as well as the behavior and actions of the chareidim in the council, even in the case of losing the race chas v’sholom, towards bringing the recommendations to the Gedolei Yisrael for approval.

Shas leader Deri issues a clarification
Following the publishing of a video by BeChadrei Chareidim, showing Shas leader Aryeh Deri using the word “Satan” in reference to Jerusalem secular mayoral candidate Ofer Berkowitz, Deri issues a clarification. Deri explains the word “Satan” was used, but not in reference to Berkowitz in his address during a victory celebration held in Tel Aviv.

Speaking to Galei Tzahal (Army Radio), Deri said the word “Satan” is used in reference to those trying to divide, referring to such efforts from within the chareidi parties.

While Deri used the word Satan several times in his comments, he is now backtracking, insisting he never intended anyone to think this refers to Berkowitz. He told Army Radio that he remains confident that if Moshe Leon is elected as Jerusalem’s mayor, he will safeguard the religious status quo in the city.

In the interview with Army Radio on Sunday, Deri said, “I don’t know Berkowitz personally but I have heard good things about him”

Barkat’s efforts result in negotiations between the Peleg and Moshe Leon
Moshe Leon confirms that outgoing Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has been acting as a go-between in the hope of getting the Peleg Yerushalmi to back Leon in the runoff elections.

Barkat backed Ze’ev Elkin in round one of voting, and is now backing Leon, and is working to bring the Peleg onboard amid an awareness they represent thousands of votes in Yerushalayim.

Just last week, the Peleg-affiliated HaPeles newspaper attacked Leon, citing five reasons Peleg voters should not back him in the runoff election.

Degel: Chiloni candidate in Tzefas is an honest man
It appears all efforts to bring Degel Hatorah on board, to support the mayoral bid of Nachman Gelbech in the Tzefas runoff election have failed. Degel prefers to back the secular candidate in this case, Shuki Ochana, and not the chassidish candidate, who is backed by Agudas Yisrael.

Rav of Tzefas’ Old City, HaGaon HaRav Dov Kaplan stated at a recent gathering that while in Yerushalayim the secular candidate has a secular agenda, in Tzefas, the secular candidate has a chareidi agenda. He added, “I know him personally and he is an honest individual and therefore, he will be honest with all people…”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)