Jan 20, 2013

Elections for mayor of Bet Shemesh

I know that we are all busy and interested in what will happen this Tuesday with national elections, but I want to interrupt that briefly with the currently less interesting municipal elections coming up in October.

Municipal elections are coming up, and they include the elections for mayor. Some people are happy with Moshe Abutbol as mayor, and he has had some successes and has done some good work. If you are one of those people, then this is not for you.

Overall though, the city is poorly run, the most basic services are not provided such as street cleaning, repairing ditches in roads, etc., there is strife between certain parts of the city with other parts and he has not been successful in calming the waters, new neighborhoods are being planned and built at a quick pace with inadequate resources and the city gets a lot of bad press.

It does not have to be that way. The city can be planned and managed, for everyone - haredim, datiimi and secular-traditional, so that we can all have quality of life.

This is no official statement, and I am taking the liberty of saying this without first getting any official permission or intent. I met last night with someone who is preparing the waters to open a campaign for the position of mayor of Bet Shemesh.

He is almost ready to make his announcement, and I am not yet officially endorsing him - it is way too early for that, and I do not yet know him or his intentions and goals well enough. All I am saying is that I was initially very impressed with the person I met with (as part of a group). This fellow, Eli Cohen, is accomplished, he is sincere, he has ideas and he is open to everyone and accepting of everyone. He wants Bet Shemesh to be a model of diversity and believes we can live together not just as a form of cold war, with each side trying to take over the other side, but we can live together happily.

As I said, this is not an endorsement - he has not even announced his candidacy yet. I am just asking that you be open to hear Eli Cohen when he will soon publicize his candidacy. Be open to hear him, look into him and his accomplishments and decide whether you think he is capable and whether his vision for the city is one you agree with.

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  1. Rafi, can you tell us a bit more about him? He he a beit Shemesh vatik? Dati? Why do you think he will make a good mayor?

  2. I didnt say he will be a good mayor. my first impression is that I think so, but I still need to see more.

    Cohen is not dati - he is masorati. he was born in Morocco, and he [was] moved to Israel and Bet Shemesh when he was 1 and a half years old. he is a bet shemesh vatik. he is very polished, very expeirenced. he has been involved in the leadership of large public bodies, such as the position he held as samankal of Mekorot for I think 4 years. There were a number of similar positions he held in other impressive names of comapnies, but I dont remember them offhand.

  3. Rafi,

    He may be an experienced adminstrator and come across as sincere(so does Abutbul) but his lack of creativity and understanding of how to stop the charedization of the city make him wholly unsuited for the tasks of a)winning the election and b)running such a complex city such as Bet Shemesh. He is certainly a "nice guy" but in my opinion lacks what it takes to uproot the mess of the last few years and present an alternative vision. Shimon Biton is a far,far better option. He might make a good mancal though.

  4. anon - as I said, he made a very good first impression on me (and the others who were present), but I dont know him or his plans well enough at this point to state that I am 100% confident he will make a good mayor. That is why i only ask at this point that people be open to hear his ideas.

    I do know that he does have a vision, he does have ideas, and he does have plans. He mentioned a little bit of it, and I hope he can accomplish what he is planning to do.

    Regarding Shimon Biton, I know even less of him. I do know that I hear nothing of him except for the articles I see on Shopping Mekomi, which I dont even get every week. I do know that Biton declared his candidacy maybe 3 months ago, yet I have never seen or heard him say anything outside of his article. Where is he leading a fight against the current mayor or showing the public where his differences are, what he will do, how he will solve problems? I dont know if he is capable or not, but I would expect a serious candidate to make his voice heard very loudly and clearly, and he has not done that.

    I am told that Biton does not even live in Bet Shemesh. Is that true? While I know that that is technically not a problem, as he can take up residence here, or maybe he never changed his teudat zehut to his new place of residence, but ti does bother me that he doesn't live here. If he wants to throw his lot in with Bet Shemesh, he should be living with us as well.

    I'd be happy if you told us more about him, some of his vision and plans, maybe arrange parlor meetings so I, and others, can meet him. Nobody is going to support the guy if all he does is write articles in a magazine and do nothing else around town.

    1. Parlor meetings etc. along with an extensive campaign to have native English speakers exposed to his writings and views are in the works. He is waiting until after the the national elections. Local elections are generally a six month affair but do the urgent circumstances the timeframe will be longer this time(starting wednesday)
      with regards to his place of residence-he is a child of bet shemesh who has lived here for practically his whole life and maintains his law practice here. He is moving back to bet shemesh soon as is required by law(I believe within six months of the election)The main issue of who is most competent to lead us out of this mess should not be clouded with a technicality.We need to focus on who will be best for the city.

    2. please define: live in Bet Shemesh

    3. did you even asked yourself what eli cohen did for biet shemesh since he forced to leave the local politics to be an asistent to a jewish agency politician ? more than 20 years ago? you, the new comers know nothing about the man. we the vatikim knoe exactly what he is made of. we are going to decide who is going to be the candidate and not mr. volitzky or mr. lipman

  5. a. if you know, please tell us. we are at the stage of looking for information

    b. I resent that you think you have more of a say than anybody else just because you are a vatik. I have been in Bet Shemesh 13 years, there were people in the meeting who have been in Bet Shemesh over 25 years, over 30 years and over 40 years. Nobody has more of a say than anybody else. We are all equal and our votes are all equal. I did not declare his candidacy, and I am not telling you for whom to vote. I said he made a very good first impression on me, and I am open to learning more about him.

    c. If any one person or group thinks he is going to make the decision on who will run,. he is setting himself up for a big loss. Electing a new mayor is going to take a lot of work by a lot of different people from across the city in coordination with each other. No one group is going to do this by themselves.

    d. Wolicki was involved in this meting, but Lipman was not. I have no idea what he thinks or whom he will be supporting as the candidate.

    e. nobody here is doing this for personal gain. I will not personally benefit if Eli Cohen becomes mayor and I will not personally benefit if Moshe Abutbol becomes mayor again. I will also not lose in any personal way if either of them win. And I will not lose out on anything if either of them wins or loses. It is a matter of who any given person thinks can provide the better quality of life by improving our beautiful city. Feel free to float a candidate that you think will do a better job, and if I am convinced of it, I will be happy to support that candidate., Right now all I know of is Moshe Abutbol, Eli Cohen is on the brink of announcing, and Shimon Biton whom I know very little about. If you think I have a personal agenda in promoting eli Cohen you are wrong.


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