Israel Briefs: Jerusalem Has a New Mayor, Netanyahu’s Son Sues a Limo Driver and More

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Lion Roars, Wins Jerusalem Mayoral Runoff

Jerusalem City Councilman Moshe Lion won a runoff election Nov. 13 to become mayor of Jerusalem, narrowly defeating fellow councilman Ofer Berkovitch by a margin of 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent, JNS.org reported.

Lion will replace outgoing Mayor Nir Barkat.


Neither candidate had clinched the minimum 40 percent of vote during the four-candidate round of voting on Oct. 30.

Lion had been endorsed by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism, while Jerusalem’s secular voters supported Berkovitch, who campaigned for a more “tolerant Jerusalem.”

“Tonight, Jerusalem chose what unites us, what unifies us and brings us together. I, God willing, intend to be the mayor of all the residents of Jerusalem, those who voted for me and those who didn’t,” Lion said.

Israeli Defense Minister Resigns in Opposition to Cease-Fire, Fears Long-Term Consequences

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman resigned Nov. 14, calling the cease-fire with Palestinian terrorist groups a “capitulation to terror,” JTA reported.

“There is no other definition for it, no other significance,” Liberman said during his resignation. “We are buying short-term calm for long-term harm to security.”

Liberman is the head of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party and his resignation could prompt new elections, as he said five party members will quit the ruling coalition. That leaves the coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holding a narrow margin of 61 Knesset seats out of 120.

Netanyahu is expected to assume the defense minister’s portfolio; he also holds the foreign minister portfolio.

Netanyahu’s Son Sues Over Limousine Recordings

The son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sued a driver who recorded him in a limousine disparaging women and talking about a national gas deal, JTA reported.

The incident occurred in 2015, when an apparently drunk Yair Netanyahu, 26, visited several Tel Aviv clubs with Nir Maimon, son of a gas tycoon, and Roman Abramov, the Israeli representative of a billionaire.

Yair Netanyahu filed a 1 million shekel (about $272,000) lawsuit against driver Roi Rozen for defamation, infringement of privacy and breach of statutory duty.

The suit claims the driver recorded the conversation to profit from it and also contends it was an invasion of privacy.

Earlier this year, Yair Netanyahu apologized for the comments saying “under the influence of alcohol, I spoke nonsense about women and other things that were better left unsaid.”

Pig’s Head Found at Synagogue Entrance

Police are investigating vandalism where a pig’s head was hung Nov. 9 at the entrance to the Sukkat Shaul synagogue in Ramat HaSharon, The Times of Israel reported.

“Shame on whoever did this,” shul manager Eli Almani said. “I didn’t believe it at first, but when I saw it with my own eyes I realized it wasn’t a picture or doll but a real pig head, with blood dripping off it.”

Tensions have run high between religious and secular residents of the city in the days leading to municipal election runoffs, with incumbent Mayor Avi Gruber accused of hostilities toward the community’s religious population.

Members across the political and religious spectrums condemned the incident.

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