Outgoing Jerusalem mayor said to endorse Moshe Lion
The Jerusalem branch of the Likud party endorses Moshe Lion for mayor of the capital in next Tuesday’s runoff vote against Ofer Berkovitch.
Lion is “the most suitable person to for mayor of Jerusalem,” it says in a statement, adding that the Jerusalem council member’s “nationalist views dovetail with ours.”
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat will also back Lion, the Kol Hair daily reports.
The local Likud office had previously refrained from backing Likud Minister Ze’ev Elkin in the first round of voting last week.
Barkat, who also supported Elkin before the senior Likud member was knocked out in the first round, has yet to make a formal announcement. Barkat narrowly defeated Lion in the 2013 race.
But Berkovitch, earlier on Wednesday, slams the reported backing by the Jerusalem mayor for his former rival.
“The man who not long ago convinced Jerusalem that it cannot support the backdoor deal of [Shas leader Aryeh] Deri, [UTJ MK Moshe] Gafni, and [Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman], today has thrown Jerusalem under the bus on his way to Likud,” says Berkovitch, referring to Barkat’s acrimonious 2013 campaign, which underlined the longtime association between Lion, Liberman and Deri.
Berkovitch also highlights that Lion, despite winning some 33 percent of the vote last Tuesday, failed to win even one council seat (voters pick a mayoral candidate and list separately).
Lion, an accountant and former director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has the support of much of the ultra-Orthodox community in the city.
Netanyahu has yet to announce which candidate he will be supporting.
— Marissa Newman