Lion with Rabbi Shteinman
Lion with Rabbi Shteinman PR release

The Degel Hatorah party, which represents the "Lithuanian" stream of the Ashkenanic hareidi community, has published a proclamation calling on its supporters to vote for Moshe Lion as Mayor of Jerusalem , saying he is "closer to religion" than current mayor Nir Barkat.

Barkat is a secular Jew, while Moshe Lion identifies himself as a religious Zionist.

Degel Hatorah's council of Torah sages published the proclamation Thursday morning.

In the forthcoming municipality elections to be held on October 22nd, voters will be asked to select their preference for a party list to run the city council, as well as a candidate for the position of Mayor.

The letter which spells out the decision on the front page of the Lithuanian hareidi newspaper Yated Ne'eman is signed by the generation's leading hareidi-Ashkenazic rabbis including Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinmen and Rabbi Haim Kanievsky.

The rabbis write in the proclamation that "many important issues are at stake," stressing that Degel Hatorah's list for the municipality would fight against those who "sought to uproot holy religious educational instructions" that the community held as sacrosanct.

It also added that everyone was obligated to vote and to help others to vote, but only for the Degel Hatorah and for Moshe Lion, the candidate which the letter described as "closer to religion."

Today's endorsement for Lion follows that of the Sephardic hareidi party Shas last week. 

Despite support from the above hareidi factions, the city's hassidic voters - associated with the Agudat Yisrael faction - 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.

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