Jerusalem for everyone? Tensions simmer in Israel's divided capital

Published date02 June 2023
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
Without his own personal representatives on the city council but with representatives from the city's haredi community ("Lithuanians," hassidim and Shas) on one side, and three representatives under the slightly expanded definition of secular pluralists on the other, Lion has managed to survive politically – at least until now

In terms of the law, a mayor does not have to head a faction on the city council. His position is based on other achievements – for example, his ability to bring money into the city and to keep his campaign promises. Unlike iconic mayor Teddy Kollek, Lion has not attracted money from foundations and big foreign donors. However, in the years since taking office, he has managed to secure sizable checks from the government. This year alone, the amount that will be received under the Jerusalem Regulation will cross the billion shekels mark – a significant achievement.

But not everything depends on budgets. In recent weeks, it seems that certain tension among the factions that make up this coalition is beginning to surface.

Tensions among the Jerusalem City Council factions are beginning to surface

Officially, nothing has happened, and it's "business as usual" at Safra Square. But from below ground, the buds are beginning to appear before the elections. Although the atmosphere on the Jerusalem street in relation to the upcoming municipal elections remains calm, tensions are beginning to rise to the surface.

With the Pride Parade set to take place yesterday, the struggle for control over those parts of certain neighborhoods which until recently were considered secular or pluralistic is gaining momentum, thus causing strife. But the most striking thing is the lack of coordination among the factions of the coalition. And it is no longer just about the struggles between the ultra-Orthodox wing on the Right and the pluralists on the Left.

While Lion tries his best to convey is that the city belongs to everyone, including non-Jews who live here, the main struggles in recent days have centered around this issue. This has led to some very embarrassing scenes being broadcast to the outside world. Two events in particular stand out that underscore these tensions.

THE FLAG March, which took place on Jerusalem Day, revealed that although the city council celebrates the unification of the city, it is powerless to prevent what some see as the more problematic aspect of the event – – the defiant presence of the nationalistic Right in the Muslim...

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