Karmiel mayoral candidate Moshe Koninsky dutifully shook my hand and …
That was it!
During today’s pre-election English language meeting hosted by Kehilat Hakerem Synagogue I spouted my apolitical party piece urging him to recognise the small but growing Anglo community’s contribution to local life.
But Koninsky response was to nod sagely, refer to the diverse communities in the city and - to move on! He did not respond to my request for the municipality to give us a formal 'presence' worthy of our contribution to local affairs.
However while his attitude was worryingly indifferent, he and his accompanying team members did cover issues that concerned all citizens, not simply the 25 Anglos present.
As a candidate, Koninsky cuts an attractive, energetic figure, anxious to kick-start some big changes in Karmiel. He promised that if elected, to save public money, he would manage with one, instead of the customary two deputies and would also greatly shorten the period any mayor could stay in office.
He claimed further that as mayor, he would suffer a cut in salary compared to what he presently earns in business management.
He pointed out that despite continuing local aliyah and the new rail station, Karmiel loses about 1,500 young people a year. The trains, he noted, travelled two ways! But he wanted to try to stem the outward flow by encouraging more industry, tourism and culture.
He claimed that a possible science park project had failed because the outgoing mayor Adi Eldar had argued against it being built next to Ort Braude College (the site chosen by the scheme's main sponsor) and while a hospital may be built locally it would never be full-sized as the government had decided in favour of those in Nahariya and Tzfat.
Koninsky also fielded questions about culture, religion and sport, side-stepping a query about Karmiel’s Arab community. He said members represented about six per cent of the population and that while eager to avoid charges of racism, he was anxious to preserve Karmiel's Jewish character.
© Natalie Wood (02 September 2018)