Religious Bloc Dropped from Jerusalem Council Coalition
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Religious Bloc Dropped from Jerusalem Council Coalition

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Jerusalem got a new ruling coalition and two new deputy mayors tonight in a widespread political realignment which followed the bitter fight of the Religious Bloc members of the Municipal Council to present issuance of a building permit for the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion sponsored American School of Archeology. Their fight was based on the fact that Reform synagogue services are to be held in the School’s library. The city’s Municipal Council had been run by a Mapai-Religious Bloc coalition until the school fight, and that coalition broke down when the building permit was voted.

The two new deputy mayors are Dr. P. Jacoby, a Progressive, and Rahamim Kalentar, a former member of Hapoel Hamizrachi who broke with fellow members of the religious group and supported Mayor Gershon Agron, of Mapai, in his stand. They will replace Moshe Gewirtzman, of Hapoel Hamizrachi, who resigned, and Rabbi Moshe Porush, Agudist, who was unseated by a margin of 11 votes in a showdown when Mayor Agron declared he no longer had confidence in his two Religious Bloc-deputies.

The new coalition has the support of 11 of the 21 members of the Council. The party line-up for the new governing group is Mapai, 6; Progressives, 2; Ahdut Avodah and WIZO (Womens International Zionist Organization), 1 each, and Mr. Kalentar, the former religious bloc member.

At the same time, the religious bloc moved to discipline Mr. Kalentar. Speaking for that bloc, former deputy mayor Gewirtzman announced that Mr. Kalentar no longer represents Hapoel Hamizrachi, on whose list he was elected to the Council in the first instance, nor the bloc of religious forces which had joined Mapai to run this city’s administration after the last election.

Later, the Council took action to replace Mr. Agron, who will leave for the United States to participate in the Israel Bond drive there. In his absence, Deputy Mayorish-Shalom, of Mapai, will be Acting Mayor.

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