Progress is reported in ongoing efforts by Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon to assemble his coalition. Building the coalition is never an easy task, but in this case, after having received the support of both Shas and Degel Hatorah, Leon has to contend with the demands of both for a number of portfolios, led by the Chadrei Education portfolio, which both parties have demanded.
According to a Kikar Shabbos News report, a draft coalition agreement between Degel and Shas has already been prepared and it appears the parties have reached agreement regarding the division of the portfolios that they have both set their sights on.
Shas is going to be in charge of the Chareidi Education unit as it was in the previous administration, and Degel Hatorah will be in charge of the Educational Institutes Building unit. Degel’s Eliezer Ruchberger is expected to receive the Finance portfolio in the city, as well as being a paid deputy mayor and authority of building. Councilman Yisrael Kellerman of Degel will most likely become chairman of the Planning & Building Committee, which will likely be split with Ofer Berkowitz of the Hisorarus party. Berkowitz, the leader of the Hisorarus party, lost the runoff mayoral election to Leon.
Hisorarus received the largest number of representatives on the city council and Leon is confident Berkowitz will decide to enter the coalition rather than remaining in opposition.
Talks continue as Leon expects to have Hisorarus and Agudas Yisrael in the coalition as well, with Agudah receiving the City Improvement portfolio, a responsibility viewed as being of less importance by the chareidi parties, but then again, Agudas Yisrael endorsed Yossi Deutsch in the first round of voting, and then it did not back Leon in the runoff election, by which time Deutsch had already been eliminated from the race.
Leon has already stated that even the Peleg faction is welcome, despite having backed Berkowitz in the race, but from the Peleg’s perspective, it appears it will prefer remaining in opposition this time around, but this may change as the final coalition agreements have yet to be signed.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)