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October 7, 2015 / 24 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’

Jerusalem Mayor Battles Terrorist!‏

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

As we were meeting people about our upcoming conference, we heard the news – a young Jewish man was stabbed close to the Old City. The terrorist, an even younger man bent on murder had been apprehended. In between conversations about what we wanted, who we expected to attend, etc., we kept going back to the news.

They were saying the mayor of Jerusalem was there, that he helped apprehend the terrorist. Two people at the meeting smiled, “they mean his security,” one said.

Look at the picture – it was taken from security cameras covering the area. The terrorist appears, circled. You’ll see him advance and then what looks like two or three men approach him – one is wearing a white shirt – he is the mayor of the city of Jerusalem and he most definitely was involved in the “take-down.”

You can see as the mayor and his security guards work to neutralize the terrorist; you’ll see, at the same time, another man in white helping someone across the street. The man who is lowered to the ground was lightly wounded and evacuated to the hospital.

This mayor has done much to promote Jerusalem – there are two significant things worth noting here. The first is that with his body, with his life, he moved in bravely to protect. And the second is that at any point, his security forces could have simply shot the 18-year-old terrorist. They chose to try to take him alive, and they did.

If Not Now, When?

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

With Jerusalem’s Arab population at 37 percent and climbing, is it a good idea to build a new Arab neighborhood for 2,200 families? City Councilman Aryeh King has sued in court against the plan – and Mayor Nir Barkat has all but fired him.

Jerusalem’s city government approved the construction plan last week for the area of Arb a-Sawahra, a “green area” in the southeastern tip of the capital. King is enraged at the idea – and almost equally so that others are not rising up against it as he is.

In response to the plan to build the new Arab neighborhood, King has filed suit in the Jerusalem District Court against Barkat, saying the plan was illegally brought for a vote.

“The highest government body in the city decided a year ago,” King said, “that no plan for Arb a-Sawahra would be decided upon or even considered until we, the city council members, are presented with an overall picture of Arab housing needs in the city. Yet Barkat ignored this decision, did not present us with statistics regarding the Arab sector, and instead passed this new plan.”

“Perhaps the Arab population needs 7,000 units and not 2,200?” King asked. “How are we supposed to make an informed decision without all the facts? And all the illegal Arab structures in the city – how many are there? Why are they not being destroyed? Without this information, no decision was allowed to be made for Arb a-Sawahra.”

Mayor Barkat responded by stripping King of his municipal authorities. The mayor explained in his letter of dismissal that this had nothing to do with the content of King’s court suit but rather that “one cannot be a member of the city coalition and file suit against it at the same time.”

King said that Arb a-Sawahra is officially billed as an open, green area – “but it is already filled with 3,000 illegal Arab structures – and now Barkat wants to add more? Why does he not first raze the existing ones?”

King also said he cannot understand why Jerusalem Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett and Housing Minister Uri Ariel, both of the Jewish Home (Bayit Yehudi) Party, have not joined him in protesting the decision.

Clearly, 2,200 new Arab housing units will have a negative effect affect on the future of united Jewish Jerusalem. There is no need to elaborate on the demographic fallout a new full-fledged neighborhood of 10,000 Arabs will have on the population balance of the city – especially given the annual net loss of some 8,000 Jews. In 2010, 34 percent of the population was Arab while in 2013 it was up to nearly 37 percent Is it wise to further upset the demographic balance?

Additionally, the new official Arab neighborhood will help strengthen, if not create, a contiguous Arab area along the eastern border of Jerusalem. Located just east of East Talpiyot, Arb a-Sawahra connects the Um Tuba/Sur Baher bloc to the south with Jabel Mukaber to the north – and from there it is just a few illegal Arab buildings away to Ras el-Amud on the Mt. of Olives shoulder, just below the Old City.

Even if the battle for the east-southeast border of Jerusalem is very much an uphill one, proponents of a strong Jewish majority in the city still have a fighting chance to stop the Arab contiguity leading northward – this due to the presence of the city of Maaleh Adumim, east of the Old City, as well as the main west-east thoroughfare leading to it.

The slim corridor that serves as the Jerusalem-Maaleh Adumim route has already been narrowed even further in many places from two kilometers to one (3/5 of a mile). The city of Jerusalem and the national government must do everything to ensure that this trend is stopped.

Mayor Barkat to American Leaders: Ensure Jerusalem’s Unity

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat is currently conducting an official visit to the United States. During his visit in Washington he met this week (Apr. 1) with leading Congressmen, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R – IN) and Chairman of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs Congressman Edward Royc (R – CA).

Barkat presented Jerusalem’s development over the past years and reviewed the challenges currently facing the city. He discussed with the Congress members Jerusalem’s status in the international arena, and asked them to ensure that Jerusalem stay unified. On their part, the Congress members discussed the battle they are waging against the financial and academic boycotts on Israel and vowed to continue fighting the de-legitimization of Israel and Jerusalem.

Later on Barkat met with Israeli Ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, and discussed with him the challenges facing the Holy City.

AIPAC hosted the Mayor at a special dinner where he dined with senior commentators, lobbyists and Israel supporters in Washington. Barkat presented his vision for Jerusalem, emphasizing Jerusalem’s openness and accessibility to adherents of all religions, and that the city has experienced economic and physical growth. Barkat thanked AIPAC members for their uncompromising commitment to Jerusalem’s safety and unity.

War on Jerusalem Pits Secular Incumbent against Lieberman’s Candidate

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

The Wikipedia entry for Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat reads, as of Sunday morning: “Barkat is currently running unopposed in the 2013 Jerusalem Mayoral elections.” If you look at the current polls, that assertion is not entirely false: a recent telephone poll run by Ma’agar Mochot showed Barkat with 52 percent among likely voters, while his only opponent, one Moshe Leon with only 13 percent. The problem is that among those same likely voters, people who assured pollsters that they have full intentions to show up at the ballot box next month, a full 35 percent are undecided.

That can be embarrassing to anyone running “unopposed” (the Leon people should get busy with that Wiki entry) this close to election day, October 22.

Add to it the fact that two of Israel’s best political manipulators, Israel Beiteinu chief Avigdor Lieberman and Shas chief Aryeh Deri (the former facing a court sentence on corruption, the latter already spent time for embezzlement), have joined forces to back candidate Moshe Leon – and you’ve got yourself an open ended race where coming from behind might be a forgone conclusion for the challenger.

The funny thing is, Moshe Leon didn’t really know he was going to run for mayor of Jerusalem until the last minute. So much so, that he continued to live in Givatayim, one of the many cities attached to Tel Aviv (it’s a Burbank vs. LA proper thing), until he got the call from his former boss, Lieberman, and established residency in Jerusalem in the nick of time.

The Barkat camp contends that the reason Leon is running has to do with Lieberman’s need for revenge. A while ago, Barkat refused to appoint a Lieberman associate, Dr. Vladimir Sklar, to a senior post on the East Jerusalem Development Authority, and Liebrman, as anyone in Israel would tell you, is not very good at taking no for an answer.

Lumping together two of the most unpopular names in Israel’s politics of the moment, Lieberman and Deri, and suggesting the driving force of the Leon campaign is a grudge is an effective campaign device, but, alas, it leaves out many details.

For one thing, before there was a Lieberman or Deri involvement in the campaign, there was a deep, growing resentment against Mayor Barkat on the part of Likud and Haredi senior leaders in Jerusalem’s local politics. According to Ma’ariv, it was Eyal Chaymovski, a former chief of staff for the prime minister, who suggested Moshe Leon as the Likud candidate.

Lieberman was outraged by the mayor’s suggestion that he would lend his support to an effort to unseat Barkat based on one patronage job. “Jerusalem under [Barkat’s] management has been going downhill over the last five years,” Lieberman told Ma’ariv. “It’s in the 135th spot in education achievements, behind [the Arab city of Teibe]. Housing prices have risen by 15 percent. Negative immigration is record breaking. [Jerusalem] has become a dirty city whose residents are paying higher city taxes than Kfar Shmaryahu and Savyon (Beverly Hills and Pasadena) and receiving services on a par with Damascus.”

About 240 thousand Jerusalemites will be voting come October 22, and about 100 thousand of them are Haredim. So, while Lieberman played a major role in getting Moshe Leon the Likud spot, it is Aryeh Deri who is expected to deliver the vast Haredi vote. The Shas leader has been taking his protégé to meetings with just about every Haredi leader, rabbi, rosh yeshiva and rebbe in the city. But not all the Haredim are necessarily friends of Likud or enemies of Barkat.

There are rumors Barkat is planning to expand municipal services, such as the train service, on Shabbat. That’s a huge no no for Haredi voters. And Barkat never took up the anti-religious mantel that works in other cities, most notably Tel Aviv. In fact, when it comes to National Religious Jerusalemites, some of whom are indistinguishable from the Haredim, they’re more likely to favor Barkat. But now, with the powerful enemies he’s suddenly facing this close to election day, his style is becoming a tad brittle.

His message regarding his opponent is that he would bring back the days in which the Haredi establishment was setting the tone in the city, with recreation places closing down and the air of freedom he has introduced in the city replaced by compulsory religious rule (the old kfiyah datit).

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/war-on-jerusalem-pits-secular-incumbent-against-liebermans-candidate/2013/09/08/

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