Mayoral candidate Moshe Lion 521.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Former Prime Minister’s Office director-general Moshe Lion complained about the
filth in the city he would like to head and blamed it on incumbent Nir Barkat,
at a meeting with Jerusalem Post writers and editors at the newspaper’s
headquarters on Monday.
Lion, who lived in Givatayim until he moved to
the city to run for mayor, said he was surprised by the amount of cats around
Jerusalem’s garbage bins. He said not being from Jerusalem gave him the
advantage of knowing the city could be cleaner.
“You can’t throw garbage
away here without being attacked by a cat,” he complained.
was one of four issues Lion said he would improve, along with education,
transportation, and housing. He said he could use his ties with top officials in
various ministries to bring national funding to Jerusalem to deal with the
“I have experience in dealing with government that can help the
city,” Lion said.
“You need to be able to speak the language of the
government and persuade relevant officials.”
Asked why his former boss,
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, has not endorsed a candidate in the race, he
asked for patience.
“I have just gotten started,” he said.
education, Lion promised to raise matriculation test scores of students, hire
teachers who are employed by outside contractors, lower school fees and build
500 classrooms for pupils all over the city, including Arab
To improve the city’s transportation, Lion said he would
have more buses operate so elderly people would not have to take a bus, the
light rail, and another bus to get places.
Lion vowed to build more
affordable small apartments for young families in order to keep them in the
city. He said the high cost of homes in Jerusalem was a result of the law of
supply and demand, not a result of a moratorium on construction over the
pre-1967 border due to diplomatic talks with the Palestinians.
mayoral candidate made a point of speaking only in Hebrew to the Post staff. His
advisers said he spoke English well enough but they did not want him to make a
As head of the Jerusalem Development Authority over the past
five years, Lion earmarked government funds for projects in Jerusalem. He took
credit for new parks, tourist sites, and industry that began during Barkat’s
tenure as mayor.
“I worked well together with Barkat,” Lion said. “But I
saw that there is not enough investment in the residents of the city, while too
much was spent on attempts to impress the world and people from Tel Aviv. We
need to get more from the city for what we pay in property taxes. My vision is
to influence and improve quality of life in the city. It should be as good or
better than any other city in the country.”