Jerusalem Mayor Lion fails to draft rival Berkovitch's party to coalition

Berkovitch, who will be Lion's opposition leader, said he would lead his Hitorerut party in a long struggle.

Moshe Lion receives gravel and key to Jerusalem, 2018. (photo credit: EHUD AMITON/TPS)
Moshe Lion receives gravel and key to Jerusalem, 2018.
(photo credit: EHUD AMITON/TPS)
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion completed the process of building a coalition on Tuesday that will include a wide variety of city council members, from the haredim (ultra-Orthodox) of Degel Hatorah to gay activist Eyal Luria-Pardes of Meretz.
Ten of the 11 parties that won city council seats will be in the coalition, leaving an opposition of only the Hitorerut Party of Ofer Berkovitch, who narrowly lost to Lion in the November 13 run-off race.
“I tried with all my might to reach an agreement with Lion but he decided to behave irresponsibly and let the haredim run the city,” Berkovitch told The Jerusalem Post. “This is the time to fight for the city.”
But Lion’s associates said he made a strong effort to bring Berkovitch into the coalition and thought an agreement would be signed Tuesday morning, until they woke up to a negative post Berkovitch wrote on Facebook overnight.
“Ofer mishandled the coalition talks,” a Lion associate said. “He has a history of not being able to work with anyone.”
Berkovitch said it was Lion who broke off the talks Monday night and there were no surprises.
“We are honest and work for the public,” Berkovitch wrote in the Facebook post. “We fought to try to take part in leading Jerusalem to a better future. We have a mayor who cares about different interests. It is ugly and disgusting, but that is the situation.”
Prior to Tuesday, Lion had reached coalition agreements with Degel Hatorah, Shas Likud, Bayit Yehudi, United Jerusalem and with city councilman Yossi Havilio, to give him a majority on the council. On Tuesday, he brought in Meretz and the Jerusalem Will Succeed Party, which was led by Ze’ev Elkin in the election – and the Agudat Yisrael Party appears to be on the way into the coalition as well.
The new head of the Jerusalem Will Succeed Party, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, will be deputy mayor in charge of foreign relations, including, philanthropy, economic development, business relations and Diaspora affairs.