In the wake of reports of former Shas Party Chairman Aryeh Deri's intentions to run for mayor of Jerusalem, MK Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism), who has already announced his candidacy, is attempting to enlist secular voters with a new campaign. Porush has hired the services of 'Spin Public Opinion' in order to assist him with this aim.
One of the reasons for the decision to hire the public relations firm, which formerly led the Pensioner's Party campaign, is Porush's shaky status in recent polls, which have been seen to reflect public anxiety over Porush's radical opinions, considered even more extremist than that of the current mayor, Uri Lupolianski.
Yuval Porat, CEO of Spin, claims Porush is interested in securing the secular vote, not just in order to win the election, but in order to prove that he represents all of the sectors of society.
"Porush not only intends to win, but to do so with a vast majority among the national-religious and the secular Jews," Porat said. "Porush's talents, his operational capacity, and his political and municipal experience all give him a clear advantage over his opponents, and make him the best candidate for Orthodox, national-religious, and secular Jews."
However Porat claims that Porush's opponents are running a smear campaign against his client,
portraying him as extremist. "The other side is attempting to lead a campaign that eliminates Porush because of his yarmulke and long beard. There is also an attempt to portray him as more radical than his predecessor."
Officials associated with Nir Barkat, also in the running, stated in response that "Barkat is not eliminating Porush or any other candidate. Jerusalem, its unity, its safety, and its power are why Porush and Lupolianski's positions are doubtful, as they seek only to divide and weaken Jerusalem."