Secular businessman Nir Barkat won the Jerusalem municipal election and will succeed Uri Lupolianski as mayor of the capital.
The result was officially declared Wednesday morning when votes had been counted at all 707 polling stations, with Barkat garnering just over 52 percent of the vote, MK Meir Porush of the United Torah Judaism Party just over 43%, Israeli-Russian billionaire Arkadi Gaydamak 3.5% and Dan Birron of the Green Leaf Party wining 0.5%.
However, despite his win, Barkat's party, Jerusalem Shall Succeed, did not win a majority in the city council, but rather came in second behind United Torah Judaism. Wake up Jerusalem, a new party made up of young, mostly secular Jerusalemites, won two mandates, while Gaydamak's Social Justice party did not win any seats.
Barkat made a victory speech to a crowd of celebrating supporters at a Bayit v'Gan hotel, calling the win "a victory for Jerusalem, Israel and the Jewish people... for the Left and the Right, the secular and the religious."
The East Jerusalem Arabs, as usual, mostly boycotted the election. Too bad for them. They don't seem to have a problem accepting all of the benefits that their Israeli ID cards provide, and they certainly don't want to lose those benefits by being turned over to gentle mercies of the Palestinian Authority. But participating in the choice of their next municipal government? That just might be seen as acknowledging
Israeli Jewish sovereignty over our eternal capital. No can do.
Like I said, too bad for them. And warm congratulations to mayor-elect Barkat.