Waiting for Netanyahu Endorsement in Yerushalayim Runoff

YERUSHALAYIM -

The day after the municipal elections in Yerushalayim, speculation centered on the runoff between Moshe Leon and Ofer Berkovitch—and whom would be the recipient of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s endorsement.

PM Netanyahu’s candidate, the purported frontrunner, Yerushalayim Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud), was eliminated in the first round despite the endorsement and generous financial backing from wealthy Russian émigrés.

When asked by reporters prior to his departure for Bulgaria on Thursday, PM Netanyahu named no name, though he did say “there is already a decision,” according to Arutz Sheva.

“I will support someone who will be an excellent prime minister, or rather an excellent mayor of Yerushalayim,” said Netanyahu. “It is a very important, complex city, I know there are bigger challenges than these. I will make sure to support those who get things done.”

Meanwhile, others were more forthcoming. Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud) said on Thursday that “I’ve known Moshe for many years and am well aware of his abilities that will undoubtedly help him advance Jerusalem to more achievements as befits our capital.”

Former Interior Minister Gidon Saar, seen by many as Netanyahu’s chief rival within the Likud, also came out for Leon on Thursday. “I call for supporting the national camp’s Moshe Leon in the second round of the Yerushalayim mayor elections and calling on Likud members to unite around his candidacy,” Saar tweeted.