Feb 12, 2013

Eli Cohen for mayor of Bet Shemesh

Last night Eli Cohen officially announced his candidacy for mayor of Bet Shemesh. Cohen announced in front of a hall packed to the rafters of a diverse crowd of residents. The atmosphere was electric.

Not every group was represented in great numbers, and as candidate he will have to work hard to get support from the Ethiopian community and the Russian community (I only saw a smattering of people from these communities present), among others, but there were a large number of native Israelis, a large number of "Anglos", and lots of other people from others communities.

Cohen was introduced by some of his supporters, including Zvi Wolicki, who explained why they have chosen to support Eli Cohen for mayor, and then Cohen got up and spoke about what he wants to do and accomplish.

The bulk of his candidacy centers around the issue of professionalism; Run the city properly, bring the various forces to work the way they should, allocate resources properly, be prepared with a plan, advance the cities interests, make Bet Shemesh a beautiful place to live with harmony among the various communities, take advantage of the tremendous location for purposes of business and commerce along with tourism, improve the education system, etc.

Professionalism speaks to me a lot as being one of the most important qualities to manage the city. Cohen comes form a background of strong management and leadership, and I think he has the skills and demeanor to really turn things around and get the city of Bet Shemesh on track to be the best it could possibly be.

I am not aware of a lot of the behind the scenes strategizing, but I hope that at some point all the candidates who have announced their candidacy, or those that still are planning to in the future, along with their teams and staffs, will be responsible enough to come to a decision as to which of the candidates has the best chance of winning and then supporting that candidate together.

So far, as far as I know, none of the local political parties (except for Shas because their candidate is the sitting mayor) have decided yet who they will be supporting, and that makes a big difference. Which candidate will have the best chance to win will be very dependent on the support of which parties and influencers they hold. When the parties make their decisions and alliances, I hope the candidates will all re-evaluate, perhaps sit together and come to a responsible decision. In the meantime, I think the best candidate is Eli Cohen.

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  1. After Rav Ovadia discovered that the Mayor had lied to him about the Mikvah issue, he apparently wasn't happy. At the time I spoke to some people who are much more aware than I about what is going on behind the scenes. They speculated that Shas may not endorse the Mayor for reelection.

    As for the large number of candidates, I think it is a good thing. As they continue to campaign, some of them will discover they have no chance of winning (through polling and other means of gaging public opinion). Those candidates will eventually drop out hopefully, leaving us with one challenger fit to be Mayor.

    I get the feeling that this election is going to be a referendum on the current administration and based less on what the alternate candidate has too offer.

  2. The Charedim will band together to make certain Bet Shemesh retains a Charedi mayor.

    Even the anglo "thinking" charedim will be schlepped in to hear Rav Shteinman et al decry the possibility of voting for an infidel.

    Rabbi Kornfeld will send out another letter and alas Bet Shemesh will once again have a mayor based on affiliation not capability.


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