Jerusalem Votes: Hassidic Community Not Gifting Votes to Lion
Monday's editions of the hassidic community's Hamaveser and Hamodia newspapers, are carrying a public proclamation to hassidic communities on the issue of voting in forthcoming municipality elections.
The announcement does not endorse Moshe Lion as its specified favored candidate.
The proclamation says that in light of there being no candidate representing Agudat Yisrael, the official party of the Ashkenazic hareidi community, voters should place their ballots according to their local rabbi's instructions.
Moshe Lion and his supporters had previously claimed that the hareidi community as a whole would vote as one block in these elections in his favor. Two days after the death of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef ztz'l last week, when the Shas party's Council of Torah Sages endorsed Lion as its candidate, it seemed like this might hold true. Monday's lack of a public endorsement from the hassidic communities for Lion means he can no longer rely on being gifted the entire hareidi vote that some say is needed to unseat current Mayor Nir Barkat.
The newspaper proclamation first calls on voters to only support Agudat Yisrael candidates where they are running in municipality elections or frameworks that integrated the party, however it adds:
"In cities where there is not a designated Agudat Yisrael candidate, voting should be in accordance with the instructions of the local rabbi."
The announcement is signed by Admors of hassidic communities including the large groupings of Belz, Gur and Vishnitz. The term Admor stands for "adoneinu, moreinu, rabbeinu," - "meaning our master, our teacher, our rabbi", and is used as the honorific title for the leaders of hassidic dynasties.
Although many Hassidic Jews will favor Moshe Lion, the communities of Belz and Gur are expected to place their support behind the current mayor, Nir Barkat.
Hareidi leaders from the non-hassidic or "Lithuanian" Ashkenazic stream have not yet given the final word on which candidate they are endorsing.