Ten questions for Moshe Lion

'In Jerusalem' interviews the deputy mayor as part of our continuing series on prospective candidates in the city's upcoming mayoral election.

Moshe Lion (photo credit: PR)
Moshe Lion
(photo credit: PR)
Our final candidate – for now – in this series of interviews of mayoral aspirants is Moshe Lion, deputy mayor and holder of the local councils and community centers portfolio. Lion, who ran for mayor at the 2013 elections and lost to current Mayor Nir Barkat, decided to remain in the city. Contrary to local press predictions, he moved from Givatayim to Jerusalem permanently, quit his accounting office and sank into the hard work of learning the city’s needs and local politics. To this day, he is still the favorite candidate of the haredi sector, a card that adds a lot to his chances.
Lion was alone in the opposition at the council, but later on became a member of Barkat’s list (Jerusalem Will Succeed) and his deputy. Lion hasn’t officially announced his candidacy yet, but after a few days of hesitation – likely based on the conclusion that Barkat will not be running again – Lion agreed to answer our questions in advance of the October election.
Who are you?
I am Moshe Lion, 56 years old, married to Stavit, father to four and a grandfather. I am a resident of Rehavia. I was the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office and economic adviser for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, chairman of the Jerusalem Development Authority, chairman of the board of Israel Railways and founder and director of one of the largest accounting firms in the country.
Why are you running?
I have loved Jerusalem all my life and I have always worked for the city in each of my public tasks. I believe that I can leverage my experience for the benefit of the city and significantly improve its status.
Who are your voters?
They will be from all the sectors. I have the ability to address all the sectors in Jerusalem, to listen and to understand them all.
What will be your ticket for this campaign?
I will work for the consolidation and the promotion of all the needs of Jerusalem, in order to improve all aspects of life in this city. My good relationships with high-ranking officials in all the government offices, my experience in the Prime Minister’s Office and more are some of key resources I will draw from to optimally benefit Jerusalem.
How will you solve problems such as sanitation, affordable housing, emigration of the young generation from the city and lack of job opportunities for educated young adults? How will you ease the tension between the haredi and pluralist sectors?
I will add budgets and staff as necessary to see that this city is clean as it should be.
I will expand all possibilities for young Jerusalem’s residents – couples and families – to acquire housing. Towers (but not in the city center), long-term rentals, greater availability of mehir lamishtaken housing assistance projects, and also a range of renewal projects in the neighborhoods. I will make the work of the local planning and constructing committee more efficient and we will see a massive addition of housing solutions.
Another part of the answer, in addition to more affordable housing, is more jobs. I will expand employment opportunities by bringing in more large enterprises. This, too, will help stem the emigration of young adults out of the city.
Jerusalem is a beautiful mosaic of various sectors and it is of the utmost importance to foster and maintain a harmonious atmosphere. Drawing from my profound understanding of the different sectors and my extensive experience in these matters in my previous positions, I will apply capacities to bridge the different sectors, diminish the tensions and to preserve the status quo in the city. I will not send toddlers and kindergarten children out of a pluralistic neighborhood just because they are haredim – but schools are another issue.
What are your plans regarding the Arab sector?
If we want to talk about a unified Jerusalem, we have to take into account the Arab residents of the city. The east side should obtain the same budgets and investments as the west side; there should be no difference. The long-standing neglect has to be changed, especially regarding the infrastructure. I am the right person to obtain the necessary budgets from the government for that purpose.
How are you financing your campaign?
Exclusively according to the law.  Donations and what I can afford – that is why my campaign is and will remain very modest.
What is your experience in all these matters?
As a civil servant for many years, I have acquired extensive civil management experience, forged valuable ties with key officials and developed skills to bridge diverse sectors in the population. These will all be vital assets contributing to my capacity to lead the city.
If Barkat decides to run again, will you run against him, join his list or just withdraw from the campaign?
I will run. Nothing else is realistic.
What is the most important quality required to be mayor of Jerusalem?
Management experience and a capacity to unite people – exactly what I have.