Arutz Sheva exclusive:
'Process of welcome, absorption, living life should be easier'

Jerusalem Mayor candidate Moshe Leon: 'New immigrants important, unique, crucial growth engine for city; we should treat them accordingly.'

Mordechai Sones,

Moshe Leon visits Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem
Moshe Leon visits Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem
Flash 90

The elections for the Jerusalem City Council will be held on October 30, 2018.

Arutz Sheva presents the answers to three questions posed to the four main candidates for Jerusalem Mayor. All candidates were asked identical questions:

  • What sets you apart from your competitors as a compelling reason to vote for you?
  • Assuming you win and succeed in advancing and implementing everything on your platform, how do you envision Jerusalem in five years from now, both physically and culturally?
  • And what would you say to the English-speaking voter or new immigrant to show them you understand their challenges and situations, and would be their right choice?

Thousands of people attended a rally thrown by the Shas and Degel Hatorah haredi parties Thursday night in support of Jerusalem mayoral candidate Moshe Leon. Leon, who lost to current Mayor Nir Barkat in 2014, is known to be well-connected with the haredi community and enjoyed their support during his previous candidacy.

The rally was attended by many haredi leaders, including the Council of Torah Sages. Leon has the support of both Shas and Degel Hatorah but not hassidic Agudat Yisrael. As haredim make up 40% of Jerusalem, it is considerably difficult to win city-wide elections without their support.

What sets you apart from your competitors as a compelling reason to vote for you?

"I'm often asked how can one believe the campaign promises that each candidate proclaims freely before the election and my answer to you is that one cannot and should not believe all campaign promises. So how can one therefore make a decision as to whom to vote for? I suggest that one look at the track record of each candidate – what they promised, but more importantly if they consistently lived up to their promises over time and delivered.

"I'm proud to say that as Director General of the Office of the Prime Minister, as Chair of Israel Railways, and as Chair of Jerusalem Development Authority, I managed projects of national importance with enormous budgets employing hundreds of loyal staff. Each project had numerous challenges and complexities. At every major juncture on each and every project over the past 25 years I consistently and proudly delivered on my promises, achieved the objectives that were agreed upon in advance and all within a framework of integrity, upholding values, and core principles.

"Jerusalem faces many challenges – in many areas including cleanliness, welfare, housing, employment, the economy, and education to name a few. I believe with all my heart that in order to successfully close the gaps, to strengthen the economy of the City, and to genuinely deal with real distress of Jerusalem's residents, one needs to be a manager, not a politician – and this is what differentiates me from the other candidates – a proven managerial track record, a proven track record in setting and achieving objectives, and most importantly a proven record in motivating others, in delegating to others, and in achieving results – all with a real concern for understanding the common interests among differing populations.

"No less important as I've shown in the past during the budget crisis with the Treasury last year, I was instrumental in ensuring that 850 million shekels were transferred to the City. I have the knowledge and the know-how to bring significant budgets from the Government – all this is addition to outside donations from foundations and individuals – and this is crucial in order to deal with the challenges facing our city."

Mayoral candidates: Deitch, Berkovitch, Leon, and Elkin
Flash 90

Assuming you win and succeed in advancing and implementing everything on your platform, how do you envision Jerusalem in five years from now, both physically and culturally?

"The vision for Jerusalem over the next 5 years is both grand and meaningful in its extent and I'll summarize: First and foremost, as a short term objective, I've set myself the task of ensuring that the outward face of our City is improved dramatically. This will be achieved via the addition of hundreds of sanitation trucks, educational initiatives in conjunction with the schools and youth movements to increase the awareness of the importance of a clean city, and, as Mayor of Jerusalem, to ensure that the law is upheld in this area. Jerusalem will be clean and well-maintained on an ongoing basis.

"In the long term, to already begin the process of renewal in the city by removing bureaucratic obstacles and accelerating development of the City by easing the process of registration and licensing for such projects. The objective: Massive construction to enable young couples affordable and accessible housing. In addition, development of employment initiatives and public transportation, construction of office buildings, and development of industrial areas to attract multinational corporations to Jerusalem (tax incentives are greater in Jerusalem). All this and more – significant improvement in public transportation lines where there are clear problems.

"Following requests from residents I intend to create forums for dialogue to discuss issues together with the residents of our City. In the area of culture, and as part of my outlook on life, I'll work to double the budget of culture in the City and to strengthen cultural activities via the community centers that act as a bridge to the Council. During my tenure as holding the community center portfolio in the Council I worked diligently to bring cultural activities and performances to the neighborhoods in the City and I intend to continue with this initiative. Culture needs to be accessible to all and it should be varied and affordable."

Quintessentially Yerushalmi campaign video for Moshe Leon (Yeshivishized Hebrew):

Moshe Leon hosted by Health Minister Yaakov Litzman
Flash 90

And what would you say to the English-speaking voter or new immigrant to show them you understand their challenges and situations, and would be their right choice?

"New immigrants are a strong force in our city, especially as there's negative emigration of young adults from the City. There's a cadre of young people with enormous abilities that choose to live in the city and this shouldn't be taken for granted. The City of Jerusalem shouldn't ignore them, but rather provide them with the tools needed to assist them to deal with their new challenges.

"I plan to develop a detailed system of support for them in all areas – education, employment, and welfare, via a dedicated department staffed by veteran immigrants who know first-hand the complexities and difficulties and who will assist in providing solutions. Each immigrant family will be assigned a professional staff support system that will be a 'one-stop shop' for all their questions, problems, and challenges. This will be done together with the Jewish Agency or Nefesh b"Nefesh so the process of welcome, absorption, and getting on with life will be easier. The new immigrants are an important, unique, and crucial growth engine for our city and we should treat them accordingly."

To see Arutz Sheva's interview with Yossi Deitch, click here.

To see Arutz Sheva's interview with Ze'ev Elkin, click here.

To see Arutz Sheva's interview with Ofer Berkovitch, click here.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, Rabbi Gershon Edelstein at Degel Hatorah rally for Leon
Flash 90




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