As the campaign to replace Anthony Weiner for NY-9 heats up, both candidates rolled out their endorsements. After receiving a key endorsement from former Gov. George Pataki this week, Bob Turner, the Republican candidate, announced the support from Assemblyman Dov Hikind. Hikind’s support is noteworthy as he crossed party lines and endorsed Turner over his orthodox-Jewish counterpart in the Assembly. David Weprin countered those with Sen. Charles Schumer’s endorsement. Nevertheless, the biggest shocker of all came soon thereafter: Yitzchak Pindrus, the orthodox-Jewish mayor of Jerusalem endorsed Weprin.
In a letter addressed to the Jewish community, Pindrus claimed that Weprin will be a reliable friend who won’t cave into the Obama administration’s pressure. “David has never been afraid to speak in our defense and has always displayed courage when Israel needs to be defended,” he stated.
The question is unambiguous: How does Pindrus, a deputy mayor in Jerusalem, get into the picture? Furthermore, how can someone who claims to represent the Degel HaTorah, the party founded by Rav Shach Zt”l, meddle into foreign affairs and support someone who displayed disgust with everything Rav Shach stood for?
The answer is simple: Yitzchak Pindrus is a long-time client of Ezra Friedlander’s firm The Friedlander Group.
Ezra Friedlander’s firm assures politicians that he’ll get the Jewish vote. The long-time system was: contract with candidates, get the establishment behind him/her, and arrange community leaders’ endorsements and bingo. This scheme, however, is on a collision course.
It all began with John Heyer.
In 2009, a young man named John Heyer ran for the 39th District of the New York City Council. Heyer received widespread support among the Jewish brethren for sharing common values, and a grassroots campaign erupted. It was, perhaps, the first time in history that the community defied the establishment, and Heyer was indeed beating the other leading candidates in Boro Park. Friedlander went ballistic and wrote an opinion for the Yeshiva World News in support of Brad Lander.
“There are those in the community who make the argument that we as a community should support candidates who share our core values. That is a position I agree with”, Friedlander declared. “In this specific election— as opposed to a city wide election where all likeminded voters can unite—only a candidate who espouses liberal positions on social issues can and will win this race” he wrote. A week later, he wrote another desperate opinion in the Yeshiva World News stating that Heyer is not in sync with the community and won’t be able to advocate for our needs.