New Jerusalem mayor vows outreach to non-haredim

Lion defeated councilman Ofer Berkovitch by some 6.500 votes, 51.5% to 48.5%, in a race that was impacted by a rift inside the haredi community. Shas leader Arye Deri called Lion to congratulate him.

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November 14, 2018 22:08
2 minute read.
Moshe Lion

Moshe Lion celebrates his victory, winning the Jerusalem mayoral election. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
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Jerusalem city councilman Moshe Lion vowed early on Wednesday to serve all sectors in the capital, and not only the haredim (ultra-Orthodox) who carried him to victory in Tuesday’s race for mayor.

“I will be the mayor of all residents of Jerusalem, those who voted for me and those who did not vote for me,” he said at his victory party in the capital’s Talpiot neighborhood.

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Lion defeated councilman Ofer Berkovitch by some 6.500 votes, 51.5% to 48.5%, in a race that was impacted by a rift inside the haredi community. Shas leader Arye Deri called Lion to congratulate him, and Lion visited Shas mentor Rabbi Shalom Cohen on Wednesday to thank him for his support.

Berkovitch and his legal team refused to accept the election results or concede the race. A source close to him said on Wednesday night that they were still checking their legal options.

“We heard the results,” Berkovitch said in his concession speech. “There are also quite a few irregularities we heard about at the polls, and our legal team is examining the results in depth. There are quite a number of polling stations that we need to examine thoroughly.”

In the first round of voting on October 30, Lion won the most votes out of the four candidates, thanks to the support he received from the Degel Hatorah and Shas parties. His own Jerusalem Shelanu party did not receive enough votes to make it into the 31-member Jerusalem City Council.

By contrast, Berkovitch’s Hitorerut Party won seven seats, more than any other party. Due to its rift with Degel Hatorah, the Agudat Yisrael party did not make an endorsement, which was seen by its supporters as an order not to vote in the election.
Consequently, the turnout in secular and National Religious neighborhoods, such as Baka, was better than in haredi neighborhoods, such as Mea She’arim.


Earlier Tuesday night, Berkovitch had as much as a 10% lead with a smaller amount of the votes counted, and the atmosphere at Lion’s campaign headquarters was despondent. But the mood improved as Berkovitch’s lead became smaller.
Degel Hatorah members celebrate with head Moshe Gafni in Bnei Brak after Moshe Lion's win in Jerusalem mayoral race, November 14, 2018 (Courtesy)

In other races, former Likud MK Carmel Shama Hacohen defeated incumbent Yisrael Singer in Ramat Gan, Rafi Sa’ar led former police investigations department head Yossi Sitbon in Kfar Saba, Avihay Shtern beat Yossi Malka in Kfar Saba, Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevi was reelected, Shuki Ohana of the Likud won in Safed, and the former head of US President Donald Trump’s campaign in Israel, Tzvika Brot, beat incumbent Yossi Bahar in Bat Yam.

Meanwhile, in Ra’anana, incumbent Eitan Ginzburg – the city’s first gay mayor – lost to former journalist Chaim Broyde.
Another notable finish to the mayoral race occurred in Ma’alot-Tarshiha, where the incumbent and previous mayor, Shlomo Buhbut, lost to the challenger, Arkady Pomerantz, after a 43-year term of holding the office.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Halevi, Ohana and Brot to congratulate them.

The number of women mayors rose in Tuesday’s runoff race from 11 to at least 13, with Yehud’s Yaela Maklis winning and Hagar Perry Yagur winning in Pardess Hanna.

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