Moshe Lion, the Likud-Beytenu candidate for mayor of Jerusalem, met with the two leading rabbis of the haredi community on Friday and received their blessings and support for his candidacy in the upcoming elections.
According to a source in the United Torah Judaism party, Lion met with Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, the spiritual leader of the haredi world, at his home in Bnei Brak. The rabbi, who to all intents and purposes directs non-hassidic haredi policy on all matters, told Lion that he had his full support and blessed him that his campaign would be successful.
Lion then moved on to the Bnei Brak residence of Rabbi Haim Kanievsky, the second most senior figure in the haredi world, who also affirmed his support.
Kanievsky told Lion, who is religious, that in the merit of his observance of the Sabbath he would be victorious in the mayoral election.
The UTJ official noted that Lion is scheduled to meet with the grand rabbis of the Gur, Belz, and Viznitz hassidic dynasties in the coming days in order to receive their backing as well.
“There is now wall to wall support from the haredi community for Lion,” he said, and dismissed the possibility that Barkat’s campaign could be able to secure the support of some of the hassidic groups.
In the 2008 election, the Gur hassidim voted for Barkat due to an internal haredi dispute over the identify of the ultra-Orthodox mayoral candidate, Meir Porush, support which is thought to have swung the result in Barkat’s favor.
Lion was supposed to meet with Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on Friday but the meeting was postponed due to the rabbis poor health.
UTJ are now increasingly confident that the haredi vote, combined with partial support from the Russian speaking community in Jerusalem and some Likud voters, will swing the election in favor of Lion.
The haredi political parties have not nominated their own candidate for mayor due to a lack of a suitably weighty and popular figure, and instead chose to swing their weight behind one of the non-haredi candidates.
It is now looking inevitable that this support will go to Lion. A formal declaration by UTJ will be made shortly before the election.
In addition, a rebel faction of Bayit Yehudi in Jerusalem has teamed up with Arye King’s Seam Line Neighborhood’s list to create a new municipal party named Untied Jerusalem.
King has already expressed his support for Moshe Lion’s mayoral campaign, but says the party’s official position will be announced within the next two weeks.
United Jerusalem’s list is headed by former deputy mayor of Jerusalem for Bayit Yehudi Shmuel Shkedi, followed by King, who is party chairman, with Hagit Moshe in third place and Tzvikah Yungreiss as number four.
Stay on top of the news - get the Jerusalem Post headlines direct to your inbox!