Jerusalemites Welcome 'Everyone's' Mayor

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Jerusalemites rejected the prospects of another ultra-Orthodox mayor to succeed outgoing Mayor Uri Lupoliansky, by choosing prominent Israeli businessman Nir Barkat over Haredi (ultra-Orthadox) candidate Meir Porush.

Barkat garnered 52 percent of the vote to Porush's 43 percent, while Russian Israeli billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak trailed at 3.6 percent and Dan Biron of the Green Leaf party came in a distant fourth, with 1 percent of the vote.

Barkat, who called his win "a victory for Jerusalem, Israel and the Jewish people," thanked his supporters and called for a united effort among all residents of the nation's capital.

"There is room in Jerusalem for everyone," Barkat said. "If there's not room for everyone, then there's not room for anyone," he said.

In 2003, Barkat lost to Lupoliansky, when the city's ultra-Orthodox population came out en masse, while many of the non-religious neglected their voting privileges.

This year, with residents feeling an urgent need to tackle the city's pressing economic, cultural, education and environmental needs, Jerusalemites voted for change.

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