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Likud minister Ze’ev Elkin announces his candidacy for mayor of Jerusalem

Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Zeev Elkin says he is willing to leave cabinet because leading the capital at this time is a “national challenge of the utmost importance” • PM Netanyahu to announce next week whether Likud Party will endorse him.

Israeli Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ze’ev Elkin addresses the Israeli government's inaugural Christian Media Summit. Credit: GPO.
Israeli Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ze’ev Elkin addresses the Israeli government's inaugural Christian Media Summit. Credit: GPO.

Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Ze’ev Elkin has announced his candidacy for mayor of Jerusalem.

“I have notified the prime minister that I have made the decision to run for mayor of Jerusalem and moved into the city. I am prepared to give up my position as a senior minister and cabinet member for the sake of Jerusalem because I think that leading Jerusalem at this time is a national challenge of the utmost importance,” Elkin said on Thursday.

The announcement comes on the heels of a poll conducted in Jerusalem on Wednesday, a day before Elkin announced his decision. The poll gave Elkin a considerable edge over other mayoral candidates.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to announce next week whether the Likud Party will endorse Elkin as its candidate in the mayoral race.

While the prime minister is taking his time deciding whether the party will support Elkin in his bid for mayor, an internal Likud poll conducted by Professor Avi Degani of the Geocartography Knowledge Group concluded that Elkin had the best chances of all the current candidates.

Netanyahu received the results of the poll late Thursday night.

Israel Hayom obtained a copy of the poll and discovered that 32.6 percent of respondents said Elkin was a “good” or a “very good” person for the position. When asked whom they would support if the election were held today, 20.7 percent said they would vote for Elkin, while 17.6 percent said they would vote for Jerusalem city council member Ofer Berkowitz, 11.8 percent said they would vote for haredi candidate Yossi Deutsch, and 10.9 percent said they would vote for Jerusalem city council member Moshe Leon.

The poll also inquired about a scenario in which Elkin made it into a run-off vote against another candidate. In a head-to-head race, 36.2 percent of Likud voters said they would vote for Elkin over Deutsch, while 36.6 percent would vote for Elkin over Leon.

The Likud poll was conducted before Elkin announced his candidacy; it’s considered likely that the announcement will bolster his standing.

Elkin appears to have the support of the Likud establishment. Among those who expressed their support for his mayor run are Tourism Minister Yariv Levin; Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev; Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan; Welfare and Social Services Minister Haim Katz; National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz; Communications Minister Ayoob Kara; Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein; Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely; and current Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

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