בניין עיריית בית שמש
בניין עיריית בית שמשצילום: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

This Tuesday, February 27, Beit Shemesh residents will be heading to the polls. This year, the mayoral race is heating up with three candidates in the running, and the city council sees over 10 lists vying for a spot, introducing a diverse mix of choices for residents.

Amidst the electoral buzz, a new, surprise contender has emerged - 'Derech,' The RBS Community List. This list is capturing attention for its unique approach, targeting voters across all neighborhoods with a promise to bridge community divides.

What sets 'Derech' apart is its grassroots origins. Its candidates are not career politicians but local activists known for their chessed and community service. This pivot to politics is driven by a desire to expand their impact, addressing those city issues that matter most to Ramat Beit Shemesh residents.

New List Tackles Long-standing Neglect in RBS

Internal polling suggests 'Derech' could secure two to three seats on the city council, signaling strong support for their platform. As the election nears, the list's campaign is ramping up efforts, aiming to mobilize their base to make a strong showing at the polls.

The campaign's mantra, "Vote for what matters most," highlights their commitment to key issues - education, infrastructure, employment, and public safety, aiming to enhance the quality of life for Beit Shemesh residents, with a focus on local Anglos and olim who traditionally have not felt represented by the city’s elected officials.

They Know The Issues Because They Experience Them Too

Candidate No. 1 on the list is Moti Leitner, 31, a software developer and neighborhood activist from Rama Dalet. In recent years, he has assisted local business owners, established institutions, and was involved in many neighborhood projects.

גרינברג עם תושבי בית שמש
גרינברג עם תושבי בית שמשצילום: אברומי לינשה

Candidate No. 2 on the list is Yona Kaufman, 37, an Avrech and volunteer in chessed organizations in Rama Alef. Yona is well-known in the neighborhood for his decades of activity, and as a U.S. native, is uniquely positioned to advocate for RBS Anglos and olim: "Olim and English speakers in Beit Shemesh feel helpless in their dealings with the municipality. Even the city's website is not accessible to them," he explains.

Candidate No. 3 on the list is Yair Matan, 44, a real estate entrepreneur and mathematician. He is also a U.S. native, and although his businesses is focused overseas, he is concerned about the employment situation in Ramat Beit Shemesh and promises to address the issue in the upcoming term: "Beit Shemesh is a wonderful place with enormous potential, yet there is a severe employment crisis in the city. This is a continuous failure that must be addressed."

Candidate No. 4 on the list is Alex Laaer, 33, a Sofer Stam and founder of several youth communities in the Ramat Beit Shemesh neighborhood. Alex indicates what he will focus on in the upcoming term: "Every month, hundreds of young families join Ramat Beit Shemesh and experience adaptation difficulties. Young families need supportive communities."

Candidate No. 5 on the list is Yehuda Sternberg, 41, a Sofer Stam and personal fitness trainer. Yehuda is a well-known community member in Rama Gimmel, and his flag is fitness, culture, and leisure. "There is a shortage of sports courts, separate gyms, fitness facilities in parks, and municipal initiatives that will make these areas accessible to all residents," notes Yehuda.