JERUSALEM: Leon Wins Mayoral Election; Big Victory For Degel; Litzman Leads Chassidim Off Political Cliff

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Moshe Leon at The Kosel on Election Day

Moshe Leon appeared to be winning the race to become the next Mayor of Jerusalem, with with nearly all of the 200,000 votes counted early Wednesday morning.

After leading for most of the night, secular candidate Ofer Berkowitz now trails Leon, the religious candidate, by several thousand votes.

Early in the counting, many were calling the race for Berkowitz who was ahead by more than 10,000 votes. Many had gone to sleep thinking a Berkowitz victory was in the bag. But as the night went on, the numbers swung in Leon’s favor.

With 99.88% of the vote counted, Leon was at 51.5% of the vote, with a lead of about 6,500 votes over Berkowitz.

While Leon’s party was celebrating and declaring victory, Berkovich was refusing to concede, alleging ‘many irregularities’ and uncounted votes of some soldiers.

The vote was the second round after no candidate secured at least 40 percent support in the Oct. 30 vote.

With the incumbent, Nir Barkat, stepping down to run for national office, a quartet of candidates squared off in an ugly campaign to replace him. The runoff featured Leon, a longtime political fixture backed by much of the country’s top leadership,against Berkovitch, a young secular activist pushing a progressive agenda against Chareidim.

Leon, a former director general of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office in the 1990s, had the the support of Degel Hatorah, Shas and others.

Berkowitz had promised to rid the capital of “chareidi extortion” if he was successful in his bid to become the next mayor of Yerushalayim.

HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky got personally involved in the election. He traveled to attend a major Yom Tefillah at the Kosel on Monday, to Daven on behalf of Leon. The Yom Tefilla was attended by more than ten thousand, and was done jointly with Hagaon HaRav Sholom Cohen of Shas.

Today, election day, Hagaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky had the following Tefillah on his Gemara all day:

On Monday, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky wrote a letter to all voters encouraging them to vote leon:

The Chassidim, under the Agudas Yisroel party, adamantly refused to join forces with Degel Hatorah and Shas and vote for Leon. Their candidate took a beating in Yerushalayim in the first round of elections, and refused to come under one unified umbrella with the majority of the Frum voters in Yerushalayim to ensure an easy Leon victory.

They took a beating in the second round as well, with Leon appearing to have won the election. Many are angrily pointing fingers at MK Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, who convinced the Moetzes of the Agudas Yisroel (Admorim / Chassidim) not to not back Leon.

The Peleg Yerushalmi had internal disagreements whether they should vote for Berkowitz. It interesting to note, that the Chassidim and the Peleg consider Hagaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch their leading Posek, yet they failed to follow his Psak Halacha released on election day which said it is “Yeherag V’al Ya’avor” to vote for Berkowitz”.

At around 1:15AM IL, MK Moshe Gafne visited Rav Chaim Kanievsky, who was where he always is, at his Gemara learning. Upon hearing the news, Rav Chaim asked for some wine, and made “Lechayim”. The attached photos were taken at this event.

Shas MK and Minister Aryeh Deri called Moshe Leon to congratulate him. See attached video:

The headline of Wednesday’s Yated:

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)




16 COMMENTS

  1. Litzman gafne litzman gafne litzman gafne litzman gafne litzman gafne. Netanyahu Deri Parush Netanyahu Deri Parush. Same names over and over again. They’ll never go away. They will die in office. Why can’t the voters get up from their slumber and impose TERM LIMITS?!

  2. DEGEL BROKE RANK WITH AGUDAH IN THE FIRST ROUND BY REFUSING TO VOTE FOR YOSSI DEUTCH – A CHAREIDI SLONIMER CHOSSID (HASHEM YISHMOR! A CHOSSID SHOULD WIN!) . IN TSEFAS, DEGEL IS SUPPORTING THE IRRELIGIOUS CANDIDATE SO CHOLILAH THE CHOSSID SHOULDN’T WIN THE RUNOFF ELECTION. WHERE ARE THE LETTERS ABOUT THE CHILLUL HASHEM IN TZEFAS??? I DIDN’T KNOW THAT YOU HAVE A HETER FOR LOSHON HORA BY MENTIONING A YID BY NAME. I TOO CAN TELL YOU WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FIASCO AND WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR GETTING RAV CHAIM SHLIT”A TO HEAR ONE SIDE. BUT I DON’T KNOW THE HETER.

  3. Iyh we can have a positive outcome for all “chareidim ledvar Hashem”, including Chasidim, if this election convinces everyone of the importance of voting. Then in the future with everyone united as everyone agrees is best, we will have the strongest Torah coalition. This election proved the facts on the ground but everyone will be pleased in the future if it causes more Chasidim to vote. Here in the USA as well… Even better hopefully we can soon merit to have malchus Hashem back…

  4. To “not gretting involved”
    do u think Rav Cahim know less than you???? The Gedolim decides who runs

    anyway – Leon himself us quite new on the political scene
    (Besides – with all of Netanyahu’s shortcomings – who is htere to take over – and BTW – who cares if he got cigars or champagne ???)

  5. To tzaddiknister: Rav Chaim knows what he is talking about. To suggest otherwise is preposterous.

    I can give you several reasons that might have prompted Degel not backing the chassidish candidate:
    1. They asked Leon to run for them in the previous elections. He did their bidding and moved to Jerusalem because of that. They likely feel they owe him to still back him.
    2. Aguda always had more seats than Degel even though we can see that Degel have more voters. This means they there constituents aren’t necessarily getting as much as they need. AFAIK, they refused to even yield to 50/50.
    3. Lion is literally there just for the Charedim and has agreed to all their terms. His party doesn’t have any representation in Jerusalem so as long has he is doing their bidding as the Charedi reprensentative, who cares that he himself is not ultra-orthodox?
    4. This could help with the draft law which is a HUGE issue for the charedim.

    I don’t know many details about the candidate in tzefat, but sounds he was happy to make deals to help the charedim. Then again, as long as doing their bidding, what difference does his background make?

  6. I just returned from the Mateh (headquaters) of the Leon team in Talpiyot- Yerusholayim. The crowd was 99.9% Charedim! What a simchah- we danced like never before! What did Berkovitz think -with that brochoh from Rav Chaim Kanievsky -he didn’t stand a chance!! Mi Keamcha Yisroel, Umi k’mo gedolei Yisroel!!!

  7. Getting Involved,
    Gafne the next few years hopes to step down

    tzaddiknister

    When was the last time AGUDA Didn’t stab a religious candidate in the back Without receiving some private benefits
    (not including ShlomeiEmunim)!!

  8. Don’t know enough details regarding TzEFAS

    But willing to guarantee ! if potentially he would have been bad For the religious Atmosphere In the town
    Degel Would Never have be willing to support Ochana !

    not like..

  9. since we are saved just barely nearly walking off cliff
    They should celebrate

    Degel Could have sold out in 2013 for $ to Barkat but refrained unlike most others
    Degel Could have sold out in 2008 for $ to Barkat
    Even supported the candidate of Aguda even when many of its own members Wouldn’t

    “Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all.”

    עשה למען קדושת ירושלים

  10. It sounds like you are a little uninformed…I chassish and live in jerusalem and NOT ONE Chassidus came out to support berkowitz!! Im not sure were you get your info….
    and actually there were a few chassidusen that came out in official support for Leon!!

  11. Israeli politics is not American politics and at the end of the day, the two Israelis Deri and Gafni ran rings around the American Litzman. Deutsch would have undoubtedly made a better Mayor for the Shomrei Shabbos community and for the kedusha of Yerushalayim but Deri and Gafni were determined to teach Aguda and Porush Inc. a lesson they will never forget. In that, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams! Of course, at the end of the day the Yid in the street suffers but what are a few tens of thousands of Yidden when politics, power and money are at stake?

  12. avreimi,

    from the same guy who was just a couple days ago promoting berkovits?
    And every other bad candidate? and with smugness!?

    hypocrisy Have no bounds at all?!