Shas’s Council of Torah Sages endorsed Jerusalem mayoral hopeful Moshe Lion as
the party’s preferred candidate in a letter published on
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman and close friend has advanced and promoted Lion’s candidacy, as has Shas chairman Arye
Lion, who is the official candidate for Likud-Beytenu, was scheduled to meet with Rabbi Ovadia Yosef immediately before he became ill to gain a public endorsement, but the rabbi’s hospitalization prevented the two from meeting.
Now that Yosef has died,
Shas’s Council of Torah Sages, which Yosef formerly headed, has issued a public
endorsement of Lion stating that this was the will of the late rabbi.
remaining members of the council are Rabbis Shalom Cohen, Shimon Baadani and
It was the council’s first decision made following the death
of Shas’s spiritual leader.
The rabbis wrote that they were supporting
Lion because Yosef had told them he was supporting them.
They noted in
their letter that Lion was “a member of our community” referring to the fact
that Lion is Sephardi, that he is Orthodox, although not haredi, and that he has
worked hard in the arena of public service, referring to his roles as the head
of the Jerusalem Development Authority and as director-general of the Prime
Minister’s Office during Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s first
Lion has also secured support from the mainstream Ashkenazi
non-hassidic haredi leaders, although the major hassidic groups have yet to
announce whom they will back.
In addition, Lion has secured the support
of some national-religious leaders.
Rabbi Haim Steiner, one of the four
rabbinical leaders of the Tekuma party, a conservative political movement within
the national-religious world that ran as part of Bayit Yehudi in last national
election, expressed his support for Lion last week, as has Likud MK and Manhigut
Yehudit leader Moshe Feiglin.