Jerusalem mayoral race exposes religious-secular rift

webRNS-Jerusalem-Vote2-111218Source: Religion News Service

BY Michele Chabin

JERUSALEM (RNS) – Guyoz Golan, a young Israeli businessman, just moved to Tel Aviv, but as a registered voter in Jerusalem he is planning to visit the city on Tuesday to cast his ballot for Ofer Berkovitch, the secular candidate competing in the Nov. 13 runoff mayoral election here.

“Like everything else in Jerusalem, this election reflects the clash between the secular and ultra-Orthodox,” said Golan, sipping coffee with his brother, Colin, at an outdoor café Friday afternoon, the eve of the Jewish sabbath.

That clash, between Berkovitch and Moshe Lion, an Orthodox Jew, has become focused on religious issues, including sabbath restrictions in Israel’s capital. The city’s haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, Jews want a complete sabbath-related shutdown of commerce for 25 hours in predominantly Jewish West Jerusalem, including nightclubs, bars and movie theaters that are now open.

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