Moshe Lion (L) and Ofer Berkotich (R).
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Jerusalem mayoral campaign of city councilman Ofer Berkovitch launched a preemptive strike against current mayor Nir Barkat on Wednesday, alleging that he will soon endorse councilman Moshe Lion in next Tuesday’s run-off race.
In the first round of voting, Barkat supported Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who finished third. Barkat spoke negatively about both candidates throughout the race, calling Berkovitch a “charlatan” and Lion “a puppet of Shas leader Arye Deri and Yisrael Beytenu chair - man Avigdor Liberman.”
The Jerusalem weekly Kol Ha’ir reported on Wednesday morning that Barkat would endorse Lion within a matter of hours. Barkat’s spokesman denied the report, but that did not stop Berkovitch’s campaign from issuing a strongly worded response.
“Nir Barkat has proven that he is an incorrigible cynic,” the campaign said. “The man who tried to persuade Jerusalemites not to give a hand to the dirty Deri-Liberman deal is now throwing Jerusalemites under a bus. For his own political interests in Likud, he is ready to sacrifice the city’s future.”
Berkovitch said he worked hand in hand with Barkat to advance the city as his deputy mayor, but that now Barkat had changed and become controlled by political hacks.
Lion’s spokeswoman also denied the report. But she did send out official endorsements Lion received Wednesday from Likud ministers Tzachi Hanegbi and Yariv Levin, former minister Gideon Sa’ar and the Likud’s Jerusalem branch.
“The nationalist outlook of Lion fits with ours,” the Likud’s Jerusalem branch said in its endorsement. “Lion is from the nationalist camp and is the most fit person to lead the city.”
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But Berkovitch’s associates sent a clip of Barkat saying recently that “Moshe Lion is not part of the nationalist camp.”
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