Will Likud MK Ze'ev Elkin throw his hat in the ring for the soon-to-be-vacant position of Jerusalem Mayor?
According to Hadashot's Amit Segal, Elkin is considering joining the Jerusalem mayoral race. The report comes as current Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is set to announce this week that he will not seek a third term as mayor of the capital.
If elected, Elkin would arrive at Jerusalem's municipality extremely familiar with the city's intricacies, as he currently serves as Minister for Jerusalem Affairs in the government.
An immigrant from the former Soviet Union, Elkin was first elected to the Knesset in 2006 as part of the Kadima faction and joined the Likud in 2009. He is considered especially close to Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Municipal elections are held in Israel every five years, with the next election scheduled for October 30th, 2018.
The rumors come as current Mayor Nir Barkat is expected to announced this week that he will not seek a third term leading the capital and opt to launch a primary bid for a place on the Likud party’s next Knesset list.
While the mayor is unlikely to challenge Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for leadership of the party, recordings of closed-door meetings with Barkat suggest he may be seeking a senior position within the party, enabling him to lead the Likud if Netanyahu should retire.
On Friday, Barkat released a somewhat cryptic message via Twitter, hinting that he was poised to make a “major decision” next week.
The message included a photograph of the mayor praying at the Western Wall.
“After a successful end to the difficult budget battle for the city, and ahead of a major decision next week, [I’m] praying at the Western Wall. What power and strength this place has! Shabbat Shalom!”