Jerusalem’s mayoral race

The World

One of the biggest issues in the campaign is religion. At this mall, opinion is split between Porush and Barkat. This woman says she supports Porush. Porush’s campaign posters have tried to appeal to secular and modern Orthodox Jews as well as the ultra Orthodox. But some Jerusalem voters appear the more secular approach of Barkat. Both candidates made a pitch at this community center last week. Barkat tried to soften his reputation as a hardliner who would expand Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem. Porush tried to moderate his image, saying he wants to improve municipal services for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, but also insisted that Jewish settlements there should be expanded. One-third of Jerusalem’s residents are Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem and they have a long list of problems they want fixed. There is a shortage of Palestinian schools and the high school drop out rate is high, and the rents are sky rocketing. This lawyer says it’s time that Palestinians have a say in how things are run in Jerusalem, and he’s voting for a third party long shot candidate, a Russian billionaire. He hopes to bring Arabs to the polls in large numbers for the fist time, but most Palestinians boycott municipal elections. They say voting would be a recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Eastern Jerusalem, which they deny. Many Muslim leaders have called for a boycott of this election as well.

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