Haredi Candidate: No More Secular Mayors

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Meir Porush, the Haredi candidate running for mayor of Jerusalem, said that in 10 to 15 years, there will not be any secular mayors of Israeli cities.

"Look what's happening here," Porush told an audience of Belz Hasidim (ultra-Orthodox Haredi sect) at the Beltzer yeshiva. "It will not take a long time, God willing, - ten, fifteen years - and soon we'll have to look for a secular candidate to run for mayor of a city," he said.

Refering to Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky's five-year tenure, Porush predicted that city hall would also remain under ultra-Orthodox control.

"We are growing and multiplying at a fast pace," he said, referring to the high birth rate of ultra-Orthodox Jews, "and within 10 years, there will not be a secular candidate in any city, except maybe an abandoned village," he said.

Porush, who spoke in Yiddish - the everyday language used by ultra-religious Jews - to an all-Haredi audience, didn't expect his remarks to be made public.

When his taped remarks were broadcast on Israel's Channel 2, with Hebrew cut lines, Porush denied having made them, claiming instead that he was referring to the relationship between ultra-Orthodox and modern Orthodox Jews.

Porush said the high birthrate of the ultra-religious population would soon make it hard to elect a secular mayor in Jerusalem. Ultra-Orthodox make up one-third of the capital's Jewish population,

The candidate also said there's no need to alter the current status quo of the Temple Mount, which is under Israeli sovereignty, but administered by the Waqf, which only permits Muslims to pray on the Temple Mount.

Polls show Porush running behind opposition leader Nir Barkat, who would like to see Israeli Zionists in the majority to curb the current trend of the city "becoming more Haredi and Arab."

"The tragedy is that not all Israelis are connected to Jerusalem, and large portions of the country don't feel a connection to the capital," Barkat said.

"The Haredi public and its leaders don't count the national religious," he said.

Sources: Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post

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