Loser of Jerusalem mayoral election analyzes the loss

Jerusalem mayoral candidate Ofer Berkovitch expresses disappointment over fact that many residents of Jerusalem did not vote in runoff.

Elad Benari,

Ofer Berkovitch
Ofer Berkovitch
Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash 90

Five days after losing the runoff in the elections for mayor of Jerusalem to Moshe Lion, Ofer Berkovitch agreed to conduct a media interview on Sunday.

"You hear people complaining continuously in the streets, you hear people explain that they 'took' the city from them, and then election day comes, the day on which you can influence things, and people stay home [and don’t come out to vote]. It’s almost inconceivable," Berkovitch told Hadashot TV.

"When you add to this all the fake news that was disseminated, there were people who in the end were afraid, or that enough doubt was cast in their mind against voting for me," he claimed.

Berkovitch lost the mayoralty to Moshe Leon by fewer than 4,000 votes, but decided not to appeal the results.

"We experienced fraudulent attacks that I would never have imagined. Fake phone calls allegedly from the New Israel Fund that they support me, which of course never happened, a car with signs in Arabic and a loudspeaker that was not our initiative…if you don’t play dirty, your chances of winning go down significantly,” said Berkovitch.

Prior to the first round, Berkovitch campaigned in part on limiting haredi influence, but later struck a conciliatory note, sending what he called a “message of unity between different sectors”.

After winning the runoff, Lion promised to cooperate with all the parties and candidates who ran against him.

"I know how to put things back and see the good of Jerusalem. I intend to sit with Ofer Berkovitch, too. I do not hold a grudge against anyone over acted before the elections," Leon declared ahead of the municipal coalition negotiations that will soon begin.

Lion, a close confidant to both former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Shas chaiman Aryeh Deri, earned the endorsement of both the Shas and Degel Hatorah haredi parties. As haredim make up 40% of Jerusalem, it is considerably difficult to win city-wide elections without their support.




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