Moshe Lion receives gravel and key to Jerusalem, 2018..
(photo credit: EHUD AMITON/TPS)
An emotional new Jerusalem mayor Moshe Lion formally received the gavel and the key to the city from outgoing mayor Nir Barkat Tuesday in a ceremony at City Hall in the capital’s Safra Square.
Struggling to hold back tears, Lion told the story of his family making aliyah in 1935 from Thessaloniki, Greece and settling in Jerusalem. Although the family later moved to Tel Aviv and Givatayim, Lion said he felt they had come full circle with him becoming mayor.
“Jerusalem unites our people and is the engine that ignites the Jewish spirit,” Lion said. “I have the honor of sitting on the chair of King David, but I also must make sure the streets are clean. My mission is to unite all of the people in a positive atmosphere.”
Lion said that everything he had done in his career in the public and private sector had prepared him for becoming mayor, which he said was the peak of my aspirations and vowed would be his last role in public life.
Although he was elected by a preponderance of ultra-Orthodox (haredi) voters
, Lion promised to help all sectors of the city, including Arabs, and said he was obligated to everyone.
Lion has not succeeded yet in building the coalition he needs to run the city. Barkat asked council members to help Lion start out his term well.
Barkat detailed his accomplishments for the city, including the doubling of tourism, blossoming hi-tech, cultural renaissance, improvements in the education system, and infrastructure upgrades in transportation, and the construction of a news city entrance and central business district.
“Leaving my office for the last time as mayor, I am thankful to God for giving me the great honor to head the most important and most complicated city council in the world over the past decade,” Barkat said. “I think residents know something good is happening over here.”
Turning to Lion, Barkat vowed to help him succeed and said: “I have no doubt that your devotion, experience and your ability to listen, will enable you to continue advancing the city forward.”
Coalition chairman David Amsalem, a former Jerusalem city councilman, was the only MK present. Lion’s political patron, MK Avigdor Liberman, was noticeably absent, and his associates said he purposely did not come because he wanted to let Lion shine outside his shadow.
The event started with a moment of silence for 24 women who have been killed recently in domestic violence.
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