Asaf Zamir
Asaf ZamirTomer Neuberg/Flash 90

Asaf Zamir, who in the past served as Deputy Tel Aviv Mayor, Cabinet minister and the Consul General of Israel in New York, announced on Monday that he would be returning to municipal politics and running on Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai’s slate in the municipal elections which will take place in October.

"I wanted to inform you that I am returning to public life, returning to Tel Aviv and running with Ron Huldai. A few weeks ago I returned to Israel. Everyone who asked me if, now that I am home, I would run for mayor, was answered in the negative. I had no thoughts of getting involved in the elections. Not because my love for the city has passed, not because the fire stopped burning, but because I didn't feel that this was the mission that was important to engage in now," Zamir wrote on Twitter.

"If five years ago I was running in the streets to convince [voters] that there must be change, what is happening in the country now makes me feel that, in the central liberal stronghold in Israel, the last thing that is needed now is internal wars. Then Ron Huldai called me for a meeting and suggested that we run together, combining forces and under joint leadership – he at the helm and me as his deputy. This is a joining of forces that I believe is needed now more than ever," he added.

"I feel that we are in a time when everyone who can contribute and influence in the public sphere is obliged to do so. And I love our city, that hasn't changed one bit. In fact, in Israel of 2023, I love Tel Aviv more than ever," he concluded.

Zamir’s announcement came two weeks after Channel 12 News reported a deal between Huldai and Zamir, which would see Zamir run with Huldai for city council and, in the last year of his term, Huldai would retire and leave the Mayor's position for Zamir.

According to the report, Zamir told his close associates about the deal and indicated that it was an attempt by Huldai to beat his closest rival in the race, Orna Barbivai.

The law states that if a mayor retires in his last year in office, there are no general elections and the city council chooses his replacement.

In the past, Huldai and Zamir’s relationship was rocky and, in the last local elections in 2018, Zamir ran against Huldai, but lost.