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Aug 29, 2013

Peppe Alou rejects offer to split non-Haredi vote in Jerusalem

A strange situation is developing in the Jerusalem municipal elections.

It looks like Nir Barkat is set to win Jerusalem and be mayor for a second term. Many Haredim prefer his opponent, Moshe Le-On, but his chances of winning, at this point, seem fairly slim.

the Alou brothers
The best hope for them right now is to find a way to split the vote on Barkat's side of the electorates. To that end enters Peppe Alou, not related to Felipe, Matty, Moises or any of the others, Meretz city councilman in Jerusalem, who has expressed interest in running for the mayorship. Alou has expressed interest, and when a group of Haredim met with him to encourage his candidacy, he said he wont be running due to a lack of funds - he said he needs a million shekels to run a campaign. They said to Alou that a million shekels is not a problem and they can look into getting it for him.

Haredi activists confirmed that such an option is possible and that they are looking into whether Alou would run to the end or drop otu in the middle - they would only arrange the money for him if he would definitely run to the end, splitting the vote, and not drop out before the election.

For Alou to take such an offer would be a big move, as has has been behind a campaign to prevent Jerusalem from becoming more Haredi. Knowing that this offer is for the purpose of helping the haredim get their preferred candidate in, would be very personally selfish of Alou and would be hypocritical - he'd never live it down among those who would tar and feather him for "handing the city over to the haredim".

Peppe Alou
To that end, Alou says that he won't take an agura from the Haredim, and Meretz has said they will not be running a candidate for mayor but only a party list for city council.

The amount of money they would have given him doesn't bother me. Some are saying that what business do they have offering so much money for this when there are a lot of other things that could be done with this money, such as supporting kollels or running their own campaign. Giving it to Alou could have been looked at as an investment for the future. Getting their preferred mayor in would, expectedly, bring them more money in return in the form of money for schools and the like.

I am a bit surprised by the offer, if it really happened as said in Mynet and Kikar. They must have known it would become public and make them look bad. They must have known Alou would reject the offer - a million shekels is a lot of money, but there is no way Alou could take it after his anti-haredi campaign. I don't see any serious upside to the making of this offer. Being that the group behind the offer is not named - the articles do not say that it was the haredi city councilmen or specific askanim - it just says Haredi subjects. Maybe it was a small group of people looking to make someone look bad or who didn't think making an offer would be a problem - it might even help build a working relationship... Either way it is strange.

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  1. The money would go directly into the Alou campaign war chest and presumably none of it would have gone to him. The only way the deal would make sense for him is if he thought he could win but couldn't raise the money for his campaign. If he thought he could win I am sure that he would have been able to raise the money.

    Either the Haredim who allegedly made the offer have no concept that both sides would need to benefit or this is either to the story, if it is true.

    If the Haredim want Barkat to lose their best shot is to convince Naftali Bennet to give Barkat his absolute and unconditional support.

  2. Jesus is the other Alou you were too bashful to mention by name :)


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