Likud Man says 'Party Has Not Endorsed Moshe Lion'
Despite Moshe Lion's campaign to be elected Mayor of Jerusalem appearing to have endorsement from the Likud party, a member of Likud's Jerusalem branch has denied that it is officially supporting Lion in the capital's forthcoming municipal elections.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Ariel Morali, a member of the Likud's branch management in Jerusalem said in contrast that he expects the party's supporters in Jerusalem to vote for current Mayor Nir Barkat.
"We think that the person who embodies the liberal values of Likud is Nir Barkat," Morali said, in comments which indicate it is likely those Likud supporters to the left of the party, rather all Likud supporters, who he felt would tend towards Barkat.
"I have no idea what happened to make it look like Likud was supporting Moshe Lion," he added.
"The people who would have come out with a statement of support like that would have been the officials of the Likud branch in Jerusalem and the Likud Municipality Committee," Morali charged, "and neither have recommended Moshe Lion - he's not a Likudnik and he's not a Jerusalemite."
Although Moshe Lion has worked in Jerusalem for many years as the Chairman of the Jerusalem Development Authority, he lives in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv.
Last month a Maariv poll placed Barakat two thirds ahead of Lion, but many expect the race to be much closer.
Last week, the hareidi Sephardic party Shas endorsed Lion and, although he had hoped to draw support from all of Jerusalem's large hareidi sector, the city's hassidic voters are seen as less on-board, with their grand rabbis refusing to endorse a single candidate, instead instructing followers to vote in accordance with the advice of their local rabbis.
That will be seen as a loss to Lion's team, as the hassidic community's voting strength lies in its tendency to vote as a single bloc, under the directives of its grand rabbis.
Hareidi leaders from the non-hassidic or "Lithuanian" Ashkenazic stream have not yet given the final word on which candidate they are endorsing.
Municipal elections are set to be held in Jerusalem on October 22nd.