Moshe Lion during the meeting
Moshe Lion during the meetingYonatan Sindel/Flash90

A conference launching the Lobby for Jerusalem is being held in the Knesset this afternoon, (Wednesday) chaired by MK Ze'ev Elkin from the National Unity Party and MK Dan Illouz of the Likud, with the participation of Mayor Moshe Lion and Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Meir Porush.

"We are in difficult times in terms of public reality and one of the special things in Jerusalem is that it has the capacity to unite the Nation," said MK Elkin, refencing the ongoing battle regarding the proposed judicial reform.

"We set up a cross-campaign lobby together with my friend Dan Illouz from the coalition and over 60 members of the Knesset. The Jerusalem of today is the State of Israel of tomorrow," he added.

MK Illouz noted: "Jerusalem is important to me both on a national and personal level. This lobby will take steps alongside the government to remind us that Jerusalem is important to all of us. From my personal point of view, I left family, friends and a guaranteed job in New York and came to Israel, put on a uniform to serve in the army, and later on the city council. I never forget about Jerusalem and today I work on it behalf in the Knesset."

Minister Porush emphasized that, "Even in these troubling times, Jerusalem is a unifying city and we see the cooperation between the coalition and the opposition. We are working to do more to stop the negative immigration from the city. We know that people like to live in Jerusalem."

Lion added, "I am in the middle of my fifth year as mayor and I am optimistic. There is no other city like Jerusalem and there is no debate about that. This is the city that testifies to the mood in the State of Israel - when things are going well in Jerusalem, they're good for the people of Israel and the entire country."

According to him, "Jerusalem is the largest city in the State of Israel and we have crossed the threshold of one million residents. A third of the residents live in the eastern part of the city. We are the largest Arab city in the country and we take care of and invest money in the eastern part of the city. It is also the largest haredi city in Israel."

"Whoever thinks or hopes that Jerusalem can one day be divided again is wrong. As mayor, it is my job to make sure that every resident gets what they need and we must live together," he concluded.

A member of the city council, Yosef Speizer, asked Lion about the construction in the neighborhood of Ataro. The mayor replied: "Atarot will be built. In the coming months there will be construction. We approved the construction in the city council and now the issue has moved to the district committee. There were polluting factories there and the issue is being looked into by the Ministry of Environmental Protection."

MK Limor Son Har-Melech (Otzma Yehudit) wondered: "How can this be going on? I have related to (Likud MK) Idit Silman that the [same] person who tried to prevent the promotion of construction in the last vote is also fundamentally opposed to construction there."

The mayor reiterated that the construction process has the government's backing.