Shimon Gapso in court (2013)
Shimon Gapso in court (2013) Avishag Shaar Yashuv/Flash 90

Shimon Gapso, Mayor of Nazareth Illit, said Tuesday that he intends to go back to work as mayor in the next few days following his acquittal of corruption charges, and that he thanks all those who supported him during the years in which he stood trial for corruption charges.

"Of course I mean to return to work," he told Arutz Sheva. "Nazareth Illit has many missions."

"I survived it thanks to my faith," he said. "Many people who were accused of simpler things, of smaller accusations, either left political life or, in the worse cases, ended their lives. God gave me the strength to hold up."

Gapso did not rule out the possibility that he had been hounded because of his statements in favor of "Judaizing the Galilee."

"I do not know why I was hounded," he said, "and I don't care. I'm happy about my acquittal and about going back to the municipality. I will continue to take action for Judaizing the Galilee, and Nazareth Illit in particular."

He admitted that he had made mistakes. "There were stupid things that I did or said in the past, due to lack of experience. Today, after many hours in the courts, I am more experienced, and I know how to do things right, and there is no one who can do it better than I can, for Nazareth Illit."

Gapso had faced accusations of "racism" over his battle to keep the city Jewish despite a growing population influx from the nearby Arab city of Nazareth. He issued a definitive refusal to allow a Muslim school to be established in his city and called on the government to declare neighboring Nazareth a “hostile element” and stop giving it state funds, after a rally in the city – allegedly led by the mayor – supported Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

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