Israeli Political Satirist Assaf Harel to Become Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor

Harel to accept appointment despite campaign pledge he made during the municipal election not to join Ron Huldai's coalition

Assaf Harel on Election Day, October 30, 2018.
Tomer Appelbaum

Assaf Harel, the television personality and Tel Aviv city councilman who made an unsuccessful bid for mayor in October's municipal election, is expected to be appointed deputy mayor as part of a coalition agreement that is to have his party, Anachnu Ha’Ir (We are the City), join Mayor Ron Huldai's coalition.

Harel, who has also done satire for the Haaretz website, had declared a number of times early on in the campaign that he would not join a coalition with Huldai, but shortly before the election, he shifted position and said he would join a coalition headed by the longtime Tel Aviv mayor only if he was guaranteed major responsibilities, including the chairmanship of the city planning and building committee and broad responsibilities in Jaffa and south Tel Aviv.

Sources from Harel's Anachnu Ha'ir faction told Haaretz that, in the course of negotiations, they sensed an openness to change and new points of view at city hall. Among the terms of the new coalition agreement with Ananchu Ha'ir is a provision pertaining to the development of the Kikar Atarim real estate site on the Tel Aviv beachfront. Harel opposed plans for the site. The coalition agreement provides that the public will be given a larger say in the project and also provides for increased spending on the needs of less well-off residents of south Tel Aviv and Jaffa.

Mayor Huldai’s coalition includes the Likud party, whose local chairman Harel said he would never sit with in a coalition because the party targeted asylum seekers and Muslim residents of Jaffa in its most recent campaign.

With the addition of Anachnu Ha'ir, Huldai will control 20 of the 31 seats on city council.