Israeli Lawmaker Rachel Azaria Enters Race as Sole Woman Candidate for Jerusalem Mayor

A former deputy mayor, Azaria, of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon's center-right Kulanu Party, faces off against seven rivals in the October election

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Lawmaker Rachel Azaria in Tel Aviv last month
Lawmaker Rachel Azaria in Tel Aviv last monthCredit: Tomer Applebaum
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

MK Rachel Azaria (Kulanu) announced Sunday morning that she will run for mayor of Jerusalem in the October elections, making her the eighth declared contender.

The other candidates are Deputy Mayor Ofer Berkowitz; City Councilor Moshe Leon; Environment and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin; attorney Yossi Havilio; Mayor Nir Barkat’s former adviser, Avi Salman; Kobi Kahlon, brother of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon; and MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union). The ultra-Orthodox parties in Jerusalem have yet to decide whether to field a candidate, although Deputy Mayor Yossi Deutsch of United Torah Judaism said he would run if he got rabbinical support.

“I entered politics for Jerusalem, when the situation in Jerusalem was not simple and the negative migration was at its height,” said Azaria, a former deputy mayor of Jerusalem. “I ran and I served as a city councilor and deputy mayor, always making the city’s best interests a priority. Over the years I did many things for working families, city planning, opening schools and promoting education in Jerusalem, and I continued to work for the city from the Knesset as well.”

Azaria added, “The growing, sincere public willingness to see more women run and join the national and local leadership, together with the call and support of many residents from all communities, and my deep desire to work for Jerusalem have made me decide to go home, where my heart is, and declare my candidacy for mayor of Jerusalem.”

A poll published last Friday in the Makor Rishon newspaper showed the leading candidates are Berkowitz and Elkin. Neither, however, reached the 40 percent support needed for a first-round electoral victory. In a poll published in Maariv, the leading candidates were Berkowitz and Leon.

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