Moshe Lion and Elisha Peleg.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
New Jerusalem mayor Moshe Lion took a key step toward building his power on the capital’s city council Monday, when he merged his Yerushalayim Shelanu faction with the Likud.
Yerushalayim Shelanu won no seats on the 31-member city council in the October 30 election, but gained one two weeks later, when Lion defeated Hitorerut leader Ofer Berkovitch in a run-off race for mayor. Because a mayor must be a city councilman, Lion was automatically added as an additional member of the council. But that technical adjustment still left Lion with a disadvantage, because he had no political ally to work on his behalf on the council.
That changed Monday, when the merged faction was created, consisting of Lion and Elisha Peleg of Likud, and won one seat on the council. As part of the deal, Peleg will be deputy mayor for the next two and a half years and hold the security and sports portfolios.
Peleg has experience in both of these issues. He is a retired IDF lieutenant colonel who fought and was injured in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. When he held the sports portfolio in the past, he was instrumental in the construction of the city’s Kraft Family Football Stadium.
A month after Lion’s election, Likud is still the only party who has joined his coalition. The key question remains whether Hitorerut will end up joining and crowning Berkovitch as deputy mayor or whether he will head the opposition.
“I am happy about the merger with Likud, and the entrance of Elisha Peleg into my coalition,” Lion said. “I am sure we will work well together, cooperating on behalf of Jerusalem residents on the many plans that lie ahead.”