Moshe Leon, the mayor of Jerusalem, and Rabbi Shmuel Yaakov Kohn, the Toldos Avrohom Yitzchak Rebbe, met in an unprecedented and historic encounter this week.
The mayor and the Rebbe engaged in friendly conversation regarding several city-related issues. The Rebbe blessed Leon and promised to stay in touch with him after the encounter.
The light rail problem, which has once again resulted in violent protests at the Bar Ilan Street location where construction on the light rail line that will connect the districts of northern Jerusalem is currently taking place, was the main subject that was discussed.
The mayor explained to the Rebbe the precautions to preserve the neighborhood’s culture, such as creating separate stations for the chareidi community and tinting the train’s windows.
The mayor outlined how the train would vastly improve the numerous buses currently clogging up the area and how it would benefit spiritually.
The Rebbe expressed his happiness at hearing a different viewpoint and noted that he had learned about some new arguments.
He continued by saying he was against all forms of violence and devastation.
The second portion of the conversation focused on the mayor’s plans to help welfare organizations, especially Talmud Torahs and educational institutions, and the value of collaboration in advancing the city’s interests.
Although Toldos Avrohom Yitzchak does not vote in municipal elections, which are scheduled for November 2023, it should be noted that some organizations do. The Rebbe may influence such organizations as well.
The mayor claimed that after many years of the problem going unaddressed, his main goal is to ensure that no child will lack access to a suitable educational facility.
The officials described the highly confidential meeting as “historic” because the Rebbe had never met with a mayor before, not even when Jerusalem had a chareidi mayor.
The recent gathering shows Moshe Leon’s commitment to keeping open lines of communication with all parts of Jerusalem.