Newly reelected Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat may have won thanks to a deal with hareidi-religious candidate Chaim Epstein, Channel 10’s Raviv Drucker reports.
Barkat’s staff reportedly struck a deal with Epstein under which the latter would remain in the race despite his small chances of winning. The hope was that Epstein would win votes from hareidi-religious residents of Jerusalem who would otherwise have voted for his front-running challenger, Moshe Lion.
In exchange, Epstein was told that he would be the first invited into Barkat’s coalition, and would be appointed as deputy mayor and offered a salary.
Sources close to Barkat who spoke to Drucker confirmed that Epstein will be joining Barkat’s coalition, and said he will also be joining a special city committee that will advise Barkat regarding the future of Jerusalem, and specifically, projects that are important to the city’s hareidi-religious population.
The elections results in Jerusalem were fairly close, with Barkat winning by 12,000 votes, which gave him a 6% lead over Lion.