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      Archive: 8/8/2013
      14:00
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      News Brief

        8/8/2013, Elul 2, 5773

      Beit Shemesh Mayor: "Zionist," "Hareidi" or "Secular"?


      Eli Cohen or Aliza Bloch? That's the question being asked in a telephone survey campaign on the Bayit Yehudi party's choice for mayor of Beit Shemesh. The campaign ends Thursday evening. Aliza Bloch is a school principal and educational administrator. She ran the Bronco Weiss in the Beit Shemesh comprising over 1400 students. David Singer a volunteer with her campaign told Arutz Sheva news, "the election is very important for the future of Beit Shemesh. Concern must be for all of the citizens of the city."

      Beit Shemesh has been experiencing tension between "religious," "secular," and "hareidi" residents, although the exact delineation of such labels can often be blurred. The Bayit Yehudi party was formerly known for decades as the national religious party, representing the "Zionist" religious" community.

      However while Bloch is considered "religious,"  Eli Cohen worked as a senior administrator for the Jewish Agency. He is considered "secular", a move in tandem with Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett's new vision of attracting a wide range of Zionist Israelis. The two have an agreement to support each other, whomever the Bayit Yehudi leadership committee chooses, partially based on the results of the survey.

      They will be running against current Beit Shemesh mayor Moshe Abutbol of the Sephardic Shas party, who is considered "hareidi religious". Meier Balaish, the Deputy Mayor of Beit Shemesh may also run. Voting for parties on the city council will take place as well. Both mayoral and city council elections will take place in Beit Shemesh and most major cities throughout Israel in October.