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'United Jerusalem' Party Joins Coalition

Religious Zionist "United Jerusalem" party joins Barkat coalition, gains two seats; hopes abound for Jewish prayer rights on Temple Mount.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 11/1/2013, 3:31 PM

United Jerusalem members
United Jerusalem members
Hezki Ezra

In the Jerusalem city council, religous Zionist party "United Jerusalem" joined Mayor Nir Barkat's coalition this morning (Friday), gaining chairperson posts for its two new Council members, Aryeh King and Shmuel Shkedi.

The party won two seats on the Council in last week's municipal elections, with many hoping the party can help Israel's capital confront its various challenges.

Shkedi will be named chairperson of the city's Finance Committee; King will serve as chairperson of the Environment Committee, as well as Deputy Chairperson of the Emergency and Security Committee.

In addition, King will ascend to the post as a council member on the Regional Planning and Building Committee.

Shkedi told Arutz Sheva, "We have translated the meteoric success of 'United Jerusalem' in the elections into leadership of the capital," adding that the roles received in the municipality will allow them to work for the benefit of the religious Zionist public and the city of Jerusalem.

King, head of the Israel Land Fund which has actively been acquiring land for Jews and pressing for equal enforcement of the building law among Arabs, visited the Temple Mount on Sunday for the first time as a city council member.

As Kipa reported Monday, King intends to submit a plan in the near future to increase municipal supervision over the Temple Mount, and facilitate Jewish access to Judaism's holiest site. Under the de facto rule of the Muslim Waqf religious authority, police have enforced the discriminatory ban on Jewish prayer and free access despite court rulings.

On the Facebook page of United Jerusalem, King wrote, "We were left with the same party structure, meaning we did not unify with the Jewish Home. Our doors remain open to whoever wishes to join us at 'United Jerusalem.'"