Wednesday , May 12 2021

Moshe Leon, a candidate supported by the ultra-Orthodox, chose the mayor of Jerusalem

A candidate supporting the ultra-orthodox Jewish group was elected mayor of Jerusalem with a narrow margin, the official said on Thursday after the second outbreak of municipal elections.

Moshe Leon, whose campaign played with fear of secularization of the Holy City, received less than 51 percent of votes on Tuesday, while secular opponent Ofer Berkovitch received more than 49 percent.

The final results, endorsed by AFP by the ministry's interior ministry spokesman, were postponed, with more than 9,000 soldiers, police, people with disabilities and prisoners counted and added to the main topic.

Leon, who likes Berkovich, was a member of the city council, he had the support of some ultra-Orthodox factions, including the Shas party, led by Interior Minister Arie Derry.

It was also backed by Avigdor Liberman, who resigned on Wednesday as defense minister for controversial reconciliation in Gaza.

Leon, an accountant with a wealth of experience in the public sector, is a religious nationalist, not an ultra-Orthodox.

AP Photo / Oded Balti

The 56-year-old was briefly head of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office in 1997.

Deri called the devil at the campaign.

"All our support for the rabbi (Leon) against a secular candidate who wants to continue to secularize Jerusalem and turn our world into a city in a regular city," Deri told supporters in a video on Saturday night.

"Satan takes urgent recruitment and invites all his strengths."

Speaking early on Wednesday, after announcing the main report, Leon stressed that he would work on unity.

"Jerusalem chose the community," he said. "I am planning, God is willing, to be the mayor of all the inhabitants of Jerusalem."

Berkovich has so far refused to accept the defeat, arguing that he was unsuccessful during the vote.

Ultra-Orthodoxy make up more than a third of the Jewish population in Jerusalem and have a major impact on the city's policy, which previously had an ultra-Orthodox mayor.

330,000 Palestinians from Eastern Jerusalem have the right to vote in local elections, but the vast majority remain remote, refusing to recognize Israeli control over the city sector that they claim to be the capital of their future state.

Israel occupied eastern Jerusalem in the six-day war in 1967, and later annexed it in a move that was never recognized by the international community. The whole city sees its capital.

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