Amsalem Flash 90

Coalition Chairman MK David Amsalem criticized Environment Minister Ze'ev Elkin for running for Jerusalem mayoral position on a non-Likud ticket.

Elkin had decided to run as an independent after Prime Minister Netanyahu initially refused to support him. Elkin and the capital's Likud branch have been locked in an open feud ever since.

In an interview with the Kol Berama radio station on Thursday, Amsalem alleged that Elkin was not a "real Likudnik" for running independently, adding that he would only vote for him because he was ordered to do so by Prime Minister Netanyahu.

"I tell you my position, I never voted for a party that is not Machal (Likud). There are no other options," said Amsalem.

Elkim slammed Amsalem in response and contended that his statements would hurt him in the primaries. "It seems that according to his approach, all the mayors of the Likud are not real Likudniks. I do not think that when he comes to ask for their support in the primaries, that's what he will say," Elkin replied.

With roughly two months left before Israel’s local elections, the Jerusalem mayoral race remains tight, with a run-off vote likely between the top two candidates.

According to recent polls, Elkin holds a slight lead in the tight Jerusalem mayoral race. A recent survey found Elkin leading in the seven-way race with 31.9%, compared to 24.6% for Berkovitch, and 20.3% for United Torah Judaism’s Yossi Deutsch.

In a distant fourth place is Moshe Leon, who in 2013 ran on the Likud ticket against incumbent mayor Nir Barkat, with 13%. MK Rachel Azariya (Kulanu) would win just 5.8% of the vote, the poll shows, with the remaining candidates winning less than 3% of the vote each.