Progressive Revival

Lest we forget, religion and politics are happening all over the world.  Here is an article from the Economist about the recent mayoral election in Jerusalem.  It is interesting that like in the US voters have rejected the percieved religious candidate in favor of the more pragmatic one.

THE hollowness of Israel’s rhetoric about “united Jerusalem” is never starker than on local election day, when the city’s 537,000 adults, together with the rest of Israel, can go to the polls to pick their new mayor. Among Jerusalem’s Palestinians, who make up some 30% of the citizenry, hardly anyone bothers to vote. In East Jerusalem, the mainly Arab part of the city captured and annexed by Israel in 1967, polling stations in schools and public buildings stay yawningly empty, apart from a trickle of municipal employees and their families.

This time was no different, except that most of the Palestinians who did vote in Jerusalem on November 11th gave their support to Arkady Gaydamak, a colourful but mysterious ex-Russian oligarch who has been trying to make his way in Israeli politics despite a French warrant for his arrest on gun-running charges. With the help of Palestinians, he got a paltry 3.5% of the overall vote. Palestinian commentators attributed his modest popularity in their community not just to his wealth but to the fact that he doesn’t look Jewish.

This could hardly be said for the man who came second, with 43% of the vote. Meir Porush sports a long and lush grey beard, and long sidelocks too, which he hoists up under his big black hat. He is every inch a haredi, or ultra-Orthodox Jew, which he claimed was why the city’s shrinking non-haredi Jewish population was so doggedly determined to block his way to the mayor’s office.

Read the whole piece here…

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