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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Nir Barkat’

Mayor’s Election Promo Omits United Jerusalem

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Municipal elections will be held in nearly every city in Israel in less than a month, and the race in the capital, Jerusalem, is especially heated.

As has been the case for the last few elections in the Holy City, one of the main issues is which candidate will better protect its unity and Jewish sovereignty. Perhaps a better way of putting it, now that Aryeh King has dropped out of the race, which candidate will more endanger these precious values? For neither the incumbent mayor, Nir Barkat, nor his main rival, Likud-backed Moshe Lyon, has shown undying loyalty to the city’s all-Jewish and all-Israeli status.

Given that the Arab world does not cease chiseling away at the world’s perception of Yerushalayim as historically Jewish, and insists on receiving half the city in any future diplomatic arrangement, strong mayoral backbone on this matter is particularly essential.

Evidence of this sorry state of affairs abounds. Mayor Barkat, with a strong background in economics, has released a 90-second video promo, in which he outlines his plans for the city in various spheres of action: Economic growth, sports, culture, education, helping the outlying neighborhoods, new classrooms for the Arab sector – yet the promo includes not a single word about keeping Jerusalem united, whole, and under Israeli sovereignty.

Yes, the narrator does say at one point, “We will continue to … strengthen the status of Yerushalayim as the capital – ” but then adds, “of sports in Israel.”

King, a well-known activist on behalf of Jewish settlement throughout Jerusalem, has long criticized what he feels is Barkat’s desire to split the city. He notes that Barkat began his political career in the now-practically defunct left-wing Kadima party, “and has taken the path of its founder, Ariel Sharon. He has caused great harm to the seamline neighborhoods and the Old City, and is leading to a split in the city….”

Sadly, there is no strong indication that candidate Lyon will be any better. Though he is religiously observant and is strongly identified with the Likud party, his platform does not mention any plans to guarantee the political future of the city.

A top accountant, Lyon’s national governmental activity has been limited to economic matters, not diplomacy. His opponents lose no opportunity to note that he is backed by Shas party leader MK Aryeh Deri and Yisrael Beitenu leader MK Avigdor Lieberman: Deri is known as a supporter and even facilitator of the Oslo process, while Lieberman is alleged to have called for the transfer of Arab-populated neighborhoods of Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority.

While Lyon is backed by the haredi parties, Barkat has been endorsed by leading religious-Zionist rabbis such as Rabbis Chaim Druckman, Shlomo Aviner, Eitan Eisemann, and Avichai Ronsky.

Four religious parties are fielding candidate lists for the Jerusalem Municipal Council, though not for mayor, in the upcoming elections. United Torah Judaism, the largest faction in the municipality with eight council seats, has unleashed a catchy campaign slogan: “We need you for a tenth,” as in a minyan – referring to the party’s ambition to grow to 10 council seats.

“Our eight UTJ municipal representatives work for you non-stop with great dedication,” the party literature states, “but this time, so that they won’t be able to ignore us and so that a governing coalition won’t be formed without us, eight is just not enough. We need no fewer than ten representatives on the municipal council. It’s up to you.”

Shas is running as well, as are two (!) religious-Zionist lists. Naftali Bennett, a rookie politician who led his Jewish Home party to impressive success in the national elections, failed to maintain harmony in the party’s Jerusalem chapter. He parachuted Dov Kalmanovitz (the first victim of the first intifada) to the top of the party list – and though Kalmanovitz is well-respected, his abrupt arrival on the scene in that manner caused great consternation among much of the party faithful.

The split-off was not long in coming, with a breakaway list headed by Shmuel Shakdi. This latter has strong support – including from Aryeh King, who gave up his own mayoral ambitions and joined up as the party’s number-two. “On behalf of unity in the city and in the pro-Jerusalem camp,” King explained, “we have joined forces – those who love Jerusalem and those who love the Torah.”

In the shadow of the stormy city elections, a small but significant step was taken this past week toward a permanent Jewish presence even in “contested” parts of the city. A Jewish-owned property surrounded by Arab tenants, many of them illegal, received its own road in an informal dedication ceremony during Sukkot.

The event was sponsored by Yitzchak Herskovitz, 82, who has spent virtually all of his last 20 years fighting in court a clan of illegal Arab squatters on his property. The plot is located in Arab-populated Beit Tsafafa, adjacent to the major north-south city artery Derekh Hevron as well as the Jewish neighborhood Givat HaMatos. Herskovitz, a feisty former Californian who does not know the meaning of the word “surrender,” has single-handedly prevented a prime piece of Jerusalem real estate from being permanently taken over by a gang of Arabs who lack even a legal permit to be in Israel.

The specific milestone event he commemorated this past holiday was a notable one: The naming and dedication of a new, private road to the otherwise land-locked property. The road is still just a rocky dirt path, essentially unusable for motor vehicles; not only that, it is on property owned by the Greek Orthodox Church. But because it has been used as a walking route to the property for many decades – Herskovitz has aerial photos from the 1930s attesting to this – a court has ruled the church cannot prevent Herskovitz from using it to access his property.

As Herskovitz told some 30 friends and supporters, including Nadia Matar and Aryeh King, who assembled in the sukkah on his property, “the court decision affirms my legal right to obtain a permit to straighten the road and pave it with asphalt – which I plan to do, with God’s help, as soon as possible.”

The name of the new road? “Orchot Tzadikim” – Paths of the Righteous.

Want to help keep Jerusalem Jewish and united under Israeli sovereignty? KeepJerusalem.org invites you to participate in our bus tours of eastern and northern Jerusalem. For information, e-mail tours@keepjerusalem.org or visit our website at www.keepjerusalem.org.

Eli Yishai to Not Run for Jerusalem Mayor

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

MK Eli Yishai, the former head of the Shas party has decided he will not be running for mayor of Jerusalem, according to a report in the Israeli, Chareidi La’Daat website.

Yishai was the political head of the Shas party until Shas’s spiritual leader, Rav Ovadia Yosef, kicked him out and replaced him with Aryeh Deri. Following the completion of Aryeh Deri’s prison sentence, Deri had a cooling-off period before he could return to the politics.

Upon Deri’s going to prison, Yishai replaced Deri for 13 years, during which time Yishai ran Shas as a responsible and effective political party.

Associates of Yishai said that he had been considering challenging incumbant mayor Nir Barkat for the position in the upcoming race, but in the end Yishai has decided he wants to remain working in the national politics, and still within the Shas party.

As the Minister of the Interior in former governments, Yishai earned the reputation of being an honest person and a politician who did his job well.

Currently no candidates have announced their decision to challenge Nir Barkat for position of mayor of Jerusalem.

VIDEOS: Formula 1 Racing Through Jerusalem

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

We just got back from the Formula 1 event in Jerusalem.

It was loud. It was fast. It was awesome.

The kids loved it.

Thank you Mayor Nir Barkat.

Special Report on Formula One Racing Coming to Jerusalem

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Formula One in Jerusalem?! Does the race belong in the Holy City? Yishai brings us exclusive reports from the street in Jerusalem where we hear from Mayor Nir Barkat and local journalists.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

NYT: Fans Mirror Israel’s Racism—Ignores Europe’s Hate Stadiums

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Like Europeans, Israelis are mad for their soccer.  For some, soccer is the true religion of the Middle East,  one shared by Muslims and Jews alike.

But just as in Europe, not all soccer fans follow the normal rules of civility, and the behavior of some fans of one Israeli soccer team in particular, Jerusalem Beitar, has been reprehensible.  Beitar was the last of the 30 Israeli soccer teams without any Muslim players. The anti-Muslim racism of its fans has led to Beitar being banned from some soccer matches and being fined, as well as having demonstrations by Israelis denouncing their behavior.

When Beitar management last week brought in two Muslims from Chechnya to join the team, the response by the haters was ugly, if not unexpected.  Despite official efforts to celebrate the inclusion of Muslims into the Beitar family as an important Israeli value, some fans responded at a game over the weekend with shameful calls for “Beitar purity,” and unfurled a vicious banner: “Beitar, pure forever.”

But today’s New York Times story about the incident is shocking in its narrow focus and excessive reliance on Israel haters to suggest that the racism of the worst Beitar fans accurately reflects Israeli society.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told The Jewish Press by telephone from Berlin, “You want to know what “mirrors” Israeli society?  Walk in the Mamilla Mall on a Saturday night,  Arabs and Israelis, Muslims and Jews, all strolling, eating and shopping together – that’s the mirror of Israeli society.”

The official response to the boorishness was swift and unequivocal: the team was fined 50,000 NIS ($ 13,400) and 50 of the worst offenders were banned from an upcoming match.

Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon slammed the ugly behavior, saying “I was shocked by the racism displayed in the Beitar Jerusalem stands yesterday against having Muslim or Arab players on the team.”

“We cannot ignore these displays of racism which not long ago were directed – and are still being directed – towards the Jewish people,” he wrote on Twitter.

And in a show of solidarity, Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat attended the Tuesday press conference welcoming the Muslim Chechen players, Zaur Sadayev and Gabriel Kadiev, who had previously played on the premier Russian team Terek Grozny.

Barkat said, “I want to tell viewers around the world that we will not put up with racism or violence.  This is an ethical statement that goes out from Jerusalem to the world.”

And Beitar’s team captain Amit Ben-Shushan said at the press conference welcoming the new players, “We do not engage in politics.  As far as we’re concerned, we will do our best to welcome the players in the best possible fashion.”

The Russian-born billionaire owner of Beitar, Arkady Gaydamak, rejected the nasty response to the new players, telling Israeli Army Radio last week that the “small group of so-called supporters of the team do not represent the general opinion of the Israeli public, and they should not be allowed to win.”

No one suggests there is no racism in Israel or amongst Israeli sports fans – far from it.  A horrible incident received a lot of attention last spring when Beitar fans, chanting “death to the Arabs” after a game in Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium poured into the nearby Malha Mall, where Arab workers were allegedly assaulted by some participants.

But the only “experts” quoted in the NYT article are ones whose professional livelihood is built and dependent upon denouncing Israel as a racist society.

For example, Professor Moshe Zimmerman, chair of Hebrew University’s German Studies Department, is quoted as expressing strong support for the article’s headline, that the racist Beitar fans reflect Israeli society.

It might have been useful for readers of the NYT article to know that Zimmerman was chastised by the relatively restrained Anti-Defamation League as far back as 2005, for repeatedly comparing the Israeli Defense Forces and authorities to Nazis.

Yet the NYT writer places Zimmerman as the first expert in the article.  “People in Israel usually try to locate Beitar Jerusalem as some kind of the more extreme fringe; this is a way to overcome the embarrassment,” and Zimmerman continues, “the fact is that the Israeli society on the whole is getting more racist, or at least more ethnocentric, and this is an expression.”

Jewish Press Radio with Yishai Fleisher: Status of Jerusalem

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

The Managing Editor of The Jewish Press Online,Yishai Fleisher, recently attended a conference on the status of jerusalem and had the opportunity to record a question and answer session with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who talks about current state of Jerusalem and how it contrasts to its history and also plans for the future. Don’t miss the question asked to the mayor by Yishai at 7:07! The segment moves on to Yishai speaking Rabbi Benny Elon, a leader in the Religious Zionist movement and former member of the Israeli Knesset. The segment wraps up with presentations from leaders in the pro-Jerusalem world including Josh Reinstein, director of the Christian Allies Conference in the Knesset.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher Yishai on Facebook

Vandals Attack Historic Ammunition Hill

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill museum and memorial were vandalized Sunday night with anti-Zionist slogans, two days before Israel’s Memorial Day.

“Gunter Grass was right” and “lousy Zionists” were spray painted on the famous Six Day War battle site, as well as epithets against President Shimon Peres and Interior Minister Eli Yishai.

The battle of Ammunition Hill, hard fought in trenches and ultimately coming to serve as a symbol of Israeli bravery and yearning for Jerusalem, cost the lives of 36 Israeli soldiers.  Jordan lost 71 soldiers in the battle.

Site manager Katri Maoz told Army Radio that there was also an attempt to burn the large Israeli flag flown at the site.  A Biblical verse engraved in the stone at the Memorial of the Sons, a memorial to soldiers who fell in other battles who were the children of soldiers who had fought at Ammunition Hill, was painted over in black.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the attack and commissioned a special municipal team to clean the site in time for Wednesday’s Memorial Day ceremonies.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/vandals-attack-historic-ammunition-hill/2012/04/23/

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