Mayoral also-ran Gaydamak
By Mandy Katz
Jerusalem voters may have told Arcadi Gaydamak, “You’re fired” last week, as Nir Barkat edged him for the Jerusalem mayoralty. But don’t imagine the oligarch just sitting at home counting his shekels, or making prank phone calls to those méchants prosecutors in France trying him for arms trading.
The Russian-reared Gaydamak, one of Israel’s richest citizens, plans to star in a reality-TV show along the lines of Donald Trump’s Apprentice series, but devoted to snack stands and other small businesses, Ynet reports:
[Gaydamak] will accompany and advise businesses with especially small turnover rates, such as Falafel stands, clothing stores and factories in the periphery, until their profit margin rises significantly.
If he boosts those felafel profits high enough, maybe we could import him for a future season devoted to slightly larger businesses. I can think of three in Detroit that could use the help.
Photo by LisaG in Tel Aviv
In Jerusalem: a "smoking" election?
In a haze of post-Obamania deflation this week, I turned for a political fix to Jerusalem and the hotly contested mayoral election taking place tomorrow. For a city beset by race wars, poverty and a middle class exodus, it can be a grim business, but not without flashes of color. Today’s Washington Post offers a sober rundown of how the contest reflects the city’s ortho-secular culture wars. But, for more local analysis and also a whiff of fringe politics circa 1973, inhale the latest on Jerusalemite.net.
If London can elect offbeat politicos like “Red Ken” Livingstone and blustering Boris Johnson, why shouldn’t Jerusalem enjoy its rainbow-hued candidates? Jerusalemite offers a Q&A with Dan Birron, long-locked pub owner and Green Leaf Party candidate (you read that right: not “Green,” but “Green Leaf“)—sort of Ralph Nader meets Richard Branson meets Jerry Brown.
Birron’s not the only candidate with noteworthy hair. A front-runner, the extremely bearded Meir Porush, a Knesset member from the Haredi United Torah Judaism party, recently assured followers that it will take only 10 years to eliminate secular candidates from all Israeli mayoral contests, not just Jerusalem’s. When questioned about it afterward, Porush at first denied the remarks, which had been delivered in Yiddish—and secretly taped—at a black-hat rally, reports Jpost. For me, the story evoked flashbacks to Obama’s notoriously riffing about bitter Pennsylvania gun lovers at a private fundraiser in San Francisco. But, when it comes to “clinging” to religion, even the most conservative Pennsylvanians take a back pew to Jerusalemites. Continue reading