While Leon has been soliciting the Haredi votes—although there’s no such thing as a monolithic Haredi vote, not any more than there is such a vote in New York City—Barkat has received the endorsement of major National Religious figures, including Rabbi Chaim Druckman and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner.
Candidate Leon says he believes in maintaining the status quo between the religious and secular residents of Jerusalem. There is a palpable sense of such a status quo in Israel’s largest city. It will never be like Tel Aviv. In Jerusalem, on Shabbat, goes the old saying, secular Jews put on white shirts.
I checked out the military service records of both candidates. The hi-tech entrepreneur Nir Barkat started out as a paratrooper who served six years in the IDF and fought in Lebanon. The certified accountant who was chief of staff for Netanyahu and chairman of Israel’s railways Moshe Leon served as a cantor in the Military Rabbinate Choir.
One of them will sit at the helm of one of the most important cities on the planet.