J'lem Mukhtar to Run for City Council

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - For the first time in the city's history, an Arab mukhtar (village leader) from an east Jerusalem neighborhood will run for a spot on the city council.

Five years ago, Jordanian-born Suhier Hamdan, 60, of Sur Bahir, dropped out of city council elections, but this year he's determined to run.

Hamdan, who has maintained friendships with many Jewish Israelis over the years, is no stranger to adversity.

Seven years ago, he survived an assassination attempt for speaking out against the late Yasser Arafat and his government.

If elected to the city council, Hamdan said he will work for all Jerusalem residents -- Christians, Jews and Muslims.

Hamdan said the city government headed by outgoing Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky has done little for east Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods.

"The city does not do anything for residents of east Jerusalem," he said. "Mayor Uri Lupoliansky only knows [ARAB] neighborhoods of east Jerusalem by the maps in his office," he said.

Jerusalem's Arab residents have boycotted municipal elections since the city came back under Jewish sovereignty following the 1967 Six Day War, with a meager 1 percent voting in city elections.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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