Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Ze’ev Elkin announced that he is running for mayor in a video released today. In the clip, Elkin implied that he has not yet received the support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or the Likud party. He had been rumored to be considering a run for some time.
As Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, Elkin can claim familiarity with the city. He could also be buoyed by a strong relationship with Jerusalem’s Haredi population, though the combination of Likud and Haredi support failed to work for Moshe Lion in his 2013 campaign.
Elkin’s announcement places current mayoral candidate Lion’s future into question. Lion ran for mayor during the last election as Likud’s candidate and hoped to receive the support of the ruling party again. Furthermore, both Elkin and Lion need the support of Jerusalem’s Haredi population in order to win.
In an independent survey conducted last month, Hitorerut mayoral candidate Ofer Berkovitch was polling slightly ahead of Elkin. Amongst the pluralist/Zionist community (secular, traditional, and religious Zionist), Berkovitch won, receiving 35.1% of the vote to Elkin’s 21.1% (34.7% of respondents were undecided). When the poll was expanded to include Hareidim, Berkovitch remained ahead, albeit by a slimmer margin of 24.3% to 23.4%.