The Communists are Coming!

Posted: November 10th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: elections | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Three things to watch in the municipal election this Tuesday:

1. Tel Aviv: Mayor Ron Huldai is running for a third term after 10 years in office, backed by both Kadima and Labor parties. On the previous election Huldai won in a landslide without really campaigning, but public opinion of him has changed in the last two years. Huldai has failed to address the problem of raising rent and further worsened the situation for himsels by declaring that this was a normal result of the free market. Tel Aviv during his time in office became so attractive, he claimed, that everyone wanted to live in it. Huldai, a former pilot for the Air Force, who became a national figure as the successful principal of one of the city’s most prestigious high schools, has also made some unpopular decisions, such as taking down the legendary Osishkin basketball arena, home of Hapoel Tel Aviv, the second most popular team in the city.
His surprising challenger is MK Dov Khenin of Hadash, the radical left wing party. Khenin has built an Obama-like coalition of representatives from the poor neighborhoods in the south of the city, and the young students, journalists and bohemian crowd from the city center. Khenin is the grandson of an important Chabad rabbi, and was the former chairman of the “Environment and Life” organization, which amalgamates most of the environmental organizations in Israel.
The polls gave Huldai a 20 plus points advantage just a month ago, but the race has tightened since and the margin is considered to be in the high single digit area. Still, even the slight chance that a communist like Khenin will lead Israel’s cultural and financial capital is surprising, to say the least, considering the current political atmosphere.
My prediction: Huldai, by a margin of 15 points or more.

Read the rest of this entry »