For a Palestinian Candidate, a Contested Election in Jerusalem
Ramadan Dabash is a civil engineer and a mukhtar—an Arab community leader—in his neighborhood of East Jerusalem. His run for a seat on the city council of Jerusalem has been making international headlines because the Palestinian community has long refused to participate in city politics, which they see as legitimizing Israeli rule. (Palestinians in Jerusalem can vote in municipal elections, but do not have representation in Israel’s national government.) But with no political solution in sight Dabash feels an imperative to engage in city politics in order to bargain for infrastructure and services for the people of East Jerusalem. In doing so, he could be courting attacks from Hamas, Fatah, or Israelis angered by his move into politics. But he also has unlikely allies, including a hard-right Likud member who supports the Israeli settlement movement and might have his own motives for supporting Palestinian engagement. Bernard Avishai, a New Yorker contributor based in Jerusalem, interviewed Dabash at length, and he explains the complexities of his campaign to David Remnick.
The Jerusalem city-council election takes place on October 30th. Plus, the acclaimed writer Calvin Trillin talks about another side of his career, as the screenwriter of movies performed by his children, grandchildren, and their friends.