Last Jerusalem Election Update and Endorsements

Ben Packer,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Ben Packer
Originally from Petersburg, Virginia, Ben Packer moved to Israel in 1999, where he served in the IDF's Givati Brigade in the Gaza Strip. Ben served as a Rabbi on campus at Univ. of North Carolina and at Duke Univ. Ben now serves as Director of the Jerusalem Heritage House (www.heritagehouse.org.il) and Co-Director of Young Jewish Conservatives (www.youngjewishconservatives.org). He lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with his wife and 6 children....

Let's be honest about the upcoming Jerusalem election. Three of the candidates for mayor, Moshe Leon, Zev Elkin and Kofer Berkovich are all adamantly supporting a continuation of the status quo. They claim that Jerusalem is going in the right direction and just needs some improvements in trash removal and encouragement of hi-tech/economic development. They all promise to work to continue the current trends and be a little better with taking out the garbage. 

The problem is that this is based on wishful thinking. Over the last few years, the capital city of the Jewish People and the State of Israel has become less Jewish, both demographically and spiritually. The Jewish percentage of the population is down, many more stores are now open on Shabbat, illegal arab construction is more rampant than ever, there are city-sponsored festivals with unkosher food, promoting christian missionary activity and even celebrating the crusades (I wish i was joking about that). Therefore, business as usual is not a real option. Jerusalem needs to be taken in the opposite direction and the Jewish Presence, both physical and spiritual, needs to be significantly strengthened. 

This means:

-More building of long delayed Jewish neighborhoods like Givat HaMatos, Atarot, and Kidmat Tzion, as well as much more building in already existing neighborhoods. 

-This means no more anti-IDF events in City-sponsored venues, no more city-sponsored anti-Israel tours, no more of the city sponsoring fringe groups that seek to undermine our physical and spiritual presence in Jerusalem

-And this means no more encroachment on Shabbat. No more trickery in using public space to desecrate the Sabbath. Private space is private space, but public space belongs to everyone, not those with divisive agendas. 

In my humble but strongly-held opinion, the only candidates that can bring about this change are Kuf - Meuchadim with Arieh King for City Council and Yossi Deitch for mayor - and that's why i'm wholeheartedly supporting them. The other candidates answer to interests outside of Jerusalem that are not in Jerusalem's interests. It wouldn't be a disaster if the others were to win, it would be more of the same. And we really can't afford that for much longer. 

How it works:

Everyone gets 2 votes  - one for the mayor and one for city council. There are 4 candidates running for mayor and numerous parties for the City Council. There will most likely be a second round runoff for mayor - that's assuming none of the 4 candidates get at least 40% of the votes. City council will be final after Tuesday. 

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem