Moshe Lion, mayor of Jerusalem in 2018
|Mayor of Jerusalem|
4 December 2018
|Born||6 October 1961|
Florentin, Tel Aviv, Israel
|Political party||Yerushalayim Shelanu|
|Alma mater||Bar-Ilan University|
Moshe Lion, or Moshe Leon (Hebrew: , born 6 October 1961), is an Israeli politician who is currently the Mayor of Jerusalem. He previously served as a member of the Jerusalem City Council, director-general of the Prime Minister's Office, Chairman of the Israel Railways, and head of the Jerusalem Development Authority.
Moshe Lion was born in the Florentin neighborhood of Tel Aviv, Israel, and attended Zeitlin High School. His father's family comes from Thessaloniki, while his mother has roots in Aden. As a child, he moved with his family to Givatayim. Lion served in the Israel Defence Forces, where he was assigned to the military chaplaincy and sang with the IDF rabbinical choir. He occasionally still leads synagogue services. Lion graduated with a BA in economics and accounting from Bar-Ilan University, and interned in the office of Avigdor Yitzhaki, receiving his CPA in 1990. His brother, Dr. Nissim Lion, is a lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Bar-Ilan University.
In 1991, Lion founded Yitzhaki & Co., together with Avigdor Yitzhaki and two other partners. Among his clients was the Likud movement, which he advised following their economic losses after losing the 1992 Knesset elections. He retired in 2017.
From 2003-2006, he was appointed chairman of the Israel Railways after having previously worked with the Ports and Railways Authority. Lion finished his term in 2006, after his term was not extended.
In 2008, he was appointed chairman of the Jerusalem Development Authority. Under his tenure, the First Station train complex in Jerusalem was completed.
In 2013, Lion ran for Mayor of Jerusalem, receiving 45% of the vote, but lost to incumbent mayor Nir Barkat. The Likud party under his leadership received one mandate, and he became a member of the Jerusalem City Council on its behalf.
In August 2015, Lion joined the municipal coalition and the faction of Mayor Nir Barkat. As part of the coalition agreement signed between the two, he began to serve as a member of the city administration, and as the holder of the community management portfolio.
On 25 March 2018, Lion announced his intention to run for Mayor of Jerusalem in the elections scheduled for 30 October 2018. During the campaign, Lion stated that he opposed the Netanyahu government's plan, put forward by Jerusalem Affairs Minister and campaign challenger Ze'ev Elkin, to erect a barrier dividing East Jerusalem from the rest of the city.
Despite his broad Haredi political support, a coalition of Hasidic and extremist-Haredi Jerusalem Faction leaders declined to endorse Lion, citing his close ties to government official Avigdor Lieberman. A critic of the Haredi leadership and community on several issues, Lieberman advanced legislation to draft Haredim into the army, making Lion more likely to secularize Jerusalem according to the Hasidic coalition.
In the six-candidate general election held on 30 October, Lion garnered 33% of the vote, while fellow Jerusalem city councilman Ofer Berkovitch finished in second place with 29%. This earned them spots in a run-off election scheduled two weeks later, because according to election laws, candidates in municipal races must gain at least 40% of the vote in order to win. On 13 November, Lion won the run-off election with 50.85% of the vote to Berkovitch's 49.15%.
Lion is married, with four children, and lives in Jerusalem's Rehavia neighborhood.