Sunday’s city council meeting about the status quo at the First Station compound and its activities on Shabbat ended as expected by both sides of the struggle – a victory of the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) representatives. The outcome of an earlier debate at the Regional Council for Planning was that there should not be any steps taken to close the venue, despite haredi anger and protest over what they perceive as Shabbat desecration.The haredi representatives at the city council, who are part of the coalition, appealed against the decision.The haredim in the council have 14 seats (United Torah Judaism eight, Bnei Torah one and Shas five) but they have allies on the benches of the religious representatives – Arieh King and Dov Kalmanovitch – who regularly vote with the haredim on religious issues. That brings us to 16 seats out of 31 in the council, including Mayor Nir Barkat’s vote.But Moshe Lion, a member of Barkat’s list and coalition as well as a candidate for mayor, didn’t show up at the council for the second time, in an attempt to avoid angering his possible haredi supporters for the elections.At the end of the session (which lasted barely 40 minutes), Fleur Hassan-Nahum (Yerushalmim) said that the haredim “won a procedural battle this evening, forcing the hand of the council to appeal the decision of the regional committee to keep the First Station open on Shabbat... the city council will have to appeal to the national council for planning and housing, the highest level they can go to. We lost this battle, but we will win the war for a diverse society.”However, the haredim aren’t really celebrating and sound rather insulted.“We are always accused of not playing by the rules, of overriding the rules for our needs – but this time, it’s the pluralists who cheated on us. We insist that this place has to lawfully obtain a change in its use, and we will not give up,” said Itzhak Pindrus of UTJ and an unofficial candidate for mayor. Pindrus added that there is no request to close the First Station but only the eateries and activities on Shabbat. The First Station is situated on a plot designed for railway use only, and a change in use has to be brought to the local and regional planning commissions – something that Barkat has avoided doing all these years.