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‘Left vs. Left’ in TA Mayoral Race; Right Seeks Candidates

Preliminary stages of Tel Aviv mayoral race see four left-wing candidates, zero right-wing.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 3/27/2013, 1:46 PM

Daphni Leef
Daphni Leef
Israel News photo: Yoni Kempinski

Four figures on the Israeli left are believed to be interested in running for the position of mayor of Tel Aviv. One former Knesset member has begun a search for a non-left candidate to balance the field.

Left-wing activist Dafni Leef is the latest to express interest in running for the post. Leef told Facebook followers that residents of the city had asked her to run. “I’m not going to lie – I’m seriously considering it,” she wrote.

Many followers expressed support, while some advised her to nix the idea.

Ron Huldai of the Labor party, the current mayor, is expected to run for re-election. MK Dov Henin of Hadash formerly ran against Huldai and lost, with 34% of the vote to Huldai’s 51%; his name has been raised as a potential candidate in the 2013 mayoral race.

Another name that has come up is that of MK Nitzan Horowitz of Meretz.

Leef was one of the organizers of the “social justice” protests in the summer of 2011 and again in 2012. While the protests began as a widespread show of support for steps to lower the cost of living, turnout dropped considerably as the movement continued – a fact some attributed to organizers’ focus on criticizing the Netanyahu administration.

The thought of Leef vying with Huldai, Horowitz and Henin for the position of mayor spurred one former Tel Aviv resident into action.  Former MK Michael Ben-Ari, who was born and raised in south Tel Aviv, called on the political right to provide a candidate of its own.

“Will Tel Aviv drown in anti-Zionist leftism?” he asked on Facebook. “The left versus the left versus Meretz versus Hadash, the party of Mohammed Barakeh.”

“I’m asking myself – what would the founders of the first Hebrew city say about this?” Ben-Ari wondered.

“We have to find a worthy candidate to be a counter-balance,” he told his Facebook followers. “I’m sure we can find someone like that,” he added, noting that Tel Aviv “has another few neighborhoods besides Ramat Aviv Gimmel and Ajami.”

He asked his readers to suggest local figures who might fit the bill.