Baltimore native Rabbi Avraham Leventhal, who moved to Beit Shemesh eight years ago after making aliyah, has tossed his hat in the political ring and is running for a seat on the city council. Elections will take place October 22.
Another former American, Rabbi Dov Lipman, also was active in politics after making aliyah. He joined Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and won a seat in the Knesset in the elections earlier this year.
Rabbi Leventhal joined the Tov political party, explaining that is comprised of “Orthodox Jews with a strong social action agenda.” He added, “They assist residents regardless of their party or religious affiliation. This is exactly the style of good government that Anglo olim seek. “
Beit Shemesh is home to a large Anglo population but also has been the scene of violent clashes between Haredi extremists and modern orthodox and secular residents,
Rabbi Leventhal said, “An ‘us vs. them’ mentality has taken hold. There are many levels to the various conflicts including Haredi vs. Haredi, veteran residents vs. newcomers and olim vs. those native to the city. Unfortunately this is reflected in the functioning of the current municipal government. City Hall doesn’t serve all residents equally.”