The Big Felafel

He’s no Weiner but I have pictures of the Jerusalem Mayor



With Anthony Weiner running in the New York City Mayoral Elections, it’s hard (no pun intended) to remember there are other mayoral elections taking place all over the world—including Jerusalem.

Weiner, if you recall, was a congressman who admitted to sexting and tweeting pictures of himself (selfies with a twist) to women. The story was gold for late-night shows—you couldn’t come up with a better name than Weiner to make the weiner jokes that were to follow.

After the scandal, Weiner went to rehab and was cured. Hallelujah! Weiner then decided to run for New York City Mayor, which brings us to present day news headlines. Oh, and he wasn’t really cured of this sexting disease and more women and pictures have come forward in what appears to be his “Fifty Shades of Weiner.”

But as I said, there are other mayoral elections, and for this Jerusalemite, I’m focusing on the candidates here. Current Mayor Nir Barkat, will once again be running for office, and Moshe Leon of Likud will be his challenger. Leon, is only a recent Jerusalem resident, and hoping to garner support from the Haredi citizens of Jerusalem who do not have a candidate running in this election. In my opinion, Leon has no chance.

I don’t normally talk politics, and frankly don’t even like politicians, but I feel it is my duty as a citizen of Jerusalem and a blogger of the Internet world, to express my gratitude to Mayor Nir Barkat.

Teddy Park Fountain

Teddy Park Fountain

Mayor Barkat has renovated and reinvigorated the city of Jerusalem, and all for NIS 1 a year salary. I love that he wears gap sweaters, has perfect English, and runs to work sometimes. During his term he has worked hard on increasing tourism, entertainment and culture and beautifying the city. Thanks to his efforts, we now enjoy a beautiful new Train Station open-air mall with free morning yoga, delicious cafes and plenty of safe space for children to roam and play freely. Another outstanding achievement is the beautiful new Teddy Park which is home to a fountain that shoots water for a half-hour giving children and adults alike, the opportunity to run, dance and scream like maniacs through the closest thing to a free pool or beach in the city. 

From the marathons to the food truck, and culture beyond, Mayor Barkat has taken Jerusalem to a whole new level and I look forward to seeing what he does with his next five years. I hope he will finally resolve the housing issues for young families, transportation and help us get our first coffee shop in Armon Hanatziv.

As for what I wrote above about the pictures; t’s true, I do have pictures. And it’s true they are not like Weiner’s. For the last three years I have participated in almost every city race, in which the mayor also participated. Every time I see the mayor I ask to take a picture with him.  He has never said no, and always with a gracious smile, and kind words, he has taken time out of his busy schedule to say ‘cheese.’ That’s the type of photos you want your mayor to be taking!

Running buddies

Running buddies


Cold but proud!

Cold but proud!



Thumbs up…cool.




He may not know it, but he has become my running buddy. We actually run a similar pace, and in the Jerusalem Half-marathon in 2012, during the last few kilometers, running through freezing hail, I saw the mayor, ran by him and said, “I’m going to beat you.” Although I was exhausted and cold, I was motivated by the sheer fact that I would have to now beat the mayor. And I did. Woo hoo.

I look forward to running many a race with my buddy in his next term and remind all of you to vote on October 22, 2013.



Jerusalem Mayoral Debate or Comedy Night

Did you catch the Jerusalem mayoral debate held Saturday night at the Great Synagogue? Well I was there but it really should have been advertised as more of a comedy showcase then a political debate.

The night’s follies began with an under-prepared Great Synagogue staff unable to accommodate over a thousand Anglos that showed up to the event. While everyone was trying to push their way in to the building, I noticed that the security went to lock all the doors…that seemed safe…

Then after they opened one door they refused to let the press in. That’s right, they refused the reporter from The Economist, BBC, and even the photographer from The Jerusalem Post (who hosted the event).

Of course the staff and security claimed they were over capacity and couldn’t let anyone else in. Did I mention that Nir Barkat and his entourage hadn’t arrived yet. Were they not going to let him in to his own debate? And, with peop le already sitting on the staircases and standing in open places, the synagogue was clearly already breaking the law, so their point was baseless.

Ok, so the mob scene was the first act in the comedy showcase but the best was yet to come. Continue reading this entry »

Indecision 2008 – Jerusalem Style

Guest post by Shira


Are you eligible to vote? Where do you go to vote? Who is the best mayoral candidate choice for you?  When will Porush’s character finally be debuting on South Park? Stay tuned to The Big Felafel for Shira’s exclusive Jerusalem municipal election coverage.

With the November 11, 2008 Jerusalem Municipality elections fast approaching, it’ s time for you to get schooled in local political election jargon and regulations. So I will hold your hand, answer your questions and yes, tell you who to vote for on 11.11.

If we have learned anything from the last 2 American oh-shit-Florida-what-the-hell-happened elections, it’s that the price for mistakes in the voting booth is very, very high. This year is a critical vote in Jerusalem, since whoever gets elected will allocate the budget, construct unnecessary trains, close secular schools and build bridges leading nowhere, thus affecting your daily life.

In the last election, 180,000 Jerusalemites voted, which means that around 300,000 Jerusalem residents didn’t come out and vote.  The split between the winning Mayoral candidate and the runner up was only 15,000 votes! We thank you, 300,000 lazy, apathetic, irresponsible Jerusalemites for all of the lovely congested, construction filled streets of our city center, for the 2 million shekel bridge opening ceremony, and for the expensive french lighting system on last year’s municipality sukkah!

There is no denying that Jerusalem has its challenges but this election, with its multiple candidates and multiple parties, does not have to be one of them– in fact, it could be our way to a cleaner, younger, pluralistic future for Jerusalem. So lets see how we can break it down…

Today: Check that you are a Jerusalem resident. All citizens, 17 years and older can vote, but to vote in the Jerusalem municipal election you must be registered as a resident of the city on your teudat zehut (Israeli ID card). So make sure that your address is a Jerusalem address on your tz. If not, have it changed at misrad hapnim. I believe you have until 21 days before the election to change your address on your teudat zehut.

Soon, the election booklets will be sent to the address on your teudat zehut and that address determines where you go to place your vote. If you don’t get your election booklet in your mailbox(as listed on your tz), or have other questions about where you go to cast your vote, you can call the misrad hapnim hotline: 1800-300-059.

You can watch an awful Hebrew video about this process with English subtitles here. it is not informative at all, but it is mildly humorous.

Stay tuned for my next post about the candidates, parties and lists so you’ll know what your options are when you’re all alone in that voting booth. If you have questions, post them and I’ll do my best to find the answer in time for us to vote to safeguard the future of a diverse, productive and prosperous Jerusalem!