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Yisrael Zinger, the former principal of Ramat Gan's Blich high school, announced his candidacy for mayor of that city and claimed the support of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in a press conference Tuesday.

"Prime Minister Sharon established that I am the most fitting candidate for mayor of Ramat Gan. Shlomi Oz is an important Likud activist who paid his dues to society, but he doesn't control me. I have never been managed, I always managed. There is no need to hide something that doesn't exist," Zinger said.

Shlomi Oz chose not to attend the rally at the Ramat Gan Likud party headquarters, which was crowded with activists and supporters including actor Ze'ev Revach, former Prison Authority director Arye Bibi and basketball coach Efi Birenbaum.

Zinger's campaign manager, Brigadier General (res.) Amiram Eliasaf, formerly commander of the Hatzerim air force base, attacked the press saying, "Why aren't Rekanati and Nimrodi labeled former criminals, while Oz is? It's just because of his ethnicity."

Actor Ze'ev Revach, who hopes to work on cultural issues in the city, said that he has always been a Likud supporter and identified with the party's positions. He even performed with the band 'Salah Shabati' in the territories "for idealistic reasons," he claimed.

"I'm politically naive, and I joined the list only because of Oz's referral. I have known Shlomi many years and was a witness in his trial. As a follower of Jewish tradition, I can find no greater pleasure than to give a hand to someone who is in need," he said.

"There is a lot to be done for culture in Ramat Gan," he continued. "As a graduate of the first class of the acting school 'Beit Zvi,' I would very much like to see the school remain in Ramat Gan. I would be happy if there were even a theater here, and not just an auditorium for rent. The theater could bring together different populations, it could bond the Russian immigrants with the native Israelis."

Zinger said that the fact that he supervised Blich for 18 years and "turned it into a brand name" gives him the requisite experience to manage a city as well. "Management is management," he said. "It's a good thing that not just those who wear uniforms enter the arena of public and political activism, but also those who have dealt with education and management."

"What does a Ramat Gan resident receive today?" Zinger asked. "Dirty streets, lack of parking spaces. Where does all the money that comes into the city's account from local businesses and the stock exchange go? I take it upon myself to lead a proper and transparent city council, and to instigate a revolution in services in the city."

In response to the criticism against him, Zinger said, "In all my years at Blich I received only praise, and now the stories are coming out. Apparently the current mayor, Zvi Bar, panicked. I heard that he is considering running with Labor, and I would like to bless him on his return to his roots."