If Jerusalem Forgets Thee, O Nir Barkat: Can the Mayor Hang On?

In an interview with Haaretz, the Bibi-backed incumbent outlines his plan to beat Lieberman's choice Moshe Leon at the municipal ballot box this month.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

On the eve of Yom Kippur last month, Nir Barkat walked across town from his spacious and handsome home in Jerusalem’s Beit Hakerem neighborhood to a synagogue in affluent Talbieh. For part of the way, he was accompanied by the Netanyahu family. On the way, Mrs. Netanyahu told the mayor how pleased she and her family are with his performance as sheriff of the country’s capital.

If it were up to the prime minister and his wife, Barkat − who was quick to commemorate Benjamin Netanyahu’s late father, Benzion, by naming an interchange for him, and in the last general election publicly supported Netanyahu − would go on to a second term as mayor.

However, bitter internal party opposition to the Netanyahus has sprung up, and its instigators are making a supreme effort to ensure that Barkat is booted out of office.

The opposition is led by the person who is in the second slot on Likud’s joint slate of Knesset candidates, and whose unconcealed ambition is to replace him in the future: MK Avigdor Lieberman, leader of Yisrael Beiteinu.

The battle for the Jerusalem municipality offers an instructive lesson about the prime minister’s inability to control his own party − Netanyahu could not even deliver when it comes to the party’s candidate for mayor in Israel’s key city.

Months ago, Likud activists in Jerusalem approached every possible candidate in an effort to mount a challenge to Barkat: Shas’ Eli Yishai, Likud’s Reuven Rivlin and Tzachi Hanegbi, and former finance minister Moshe Nissim were among those who politely declined the opportunity to contest an election against an incumbent mayor who enjoys considerable popularity in the city.

Finally, someone came up with the name of Moshe Leon, a well-connected accountant who lives in Givatayim, outside Tel Aviv, and is considered a Lieberman protege and confidant. Leon hesitated, but Lieberman and Shas leader Aryeh Deri promised him sweeping support. Since Leon agreed to run, Lieberman has been his energetic campaign manager.

Privately, Lieberman offers a not especially complicated calculation which, he says, will make it possible for his man to win: a massive uniform vote by 90,000 members of the ultra-Orthodox population, plus immigrants from the former Soviet Union and residents who are disappointed with Barkat. Leon needs 130,000 votes to defeat Barkat, a source close to Lieberman told us recently. “Yvet [Lieberman’s nickname] is giving his all in this race. All the eggs are in Leon’s basket.”

Leon’s entry into the mayoralty race triggered a chain reaction of political paradoxes. Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich, who termed Leon the emissary of the corrupt, announced her support for Barkat. Zahava Gal-On, leader of Meretz, opposed a run for mayor by Pepe Alalo, the party’s head in Jerusalem, in order not to cut into Barkat’s secular constituency. As Yacimovich and Gal-On see it, the bizarre alliance between Lieberman, who is in favor of civil marriage, and Deri and the Haredi rabbis, is more threatening than the ties between Barkat and those who believe that, if they judaize Jerusalem, the messiah will come in our time.

Others who are backing Barkat, in addition to the leaders of Labor and Meretz, are Naftali Bennett, the leader of the right-wing Orthodox Habayit Hayehudi party, and well-known rabbis from the settlements, such as Shlomo Aviner and Haim Druckman. Barkat is aware that his reelection depends on these rabbis and their flock of admirers. Asked about the racist overtones in the doctrine of Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu, whom he reveres, or whether it would bother him if an Arab moved in next door to him,

Barkat finds it hard to answer. If you ask Barkat, it’s not Lieberman’s ideology that is the problem. The problem lies elsewhere. “He was always complaining that I wasn’t helping his people enough,” Barkat says.

Who, for example?

“Lieberman tried to engineer an improper appointment in the East Jerusalem Development Company − a government company that belongs to the municipality and the Tourism Ministry. I thought the company was superfluous. In the end, and with the agreement of the Tourism Ministry, its mission was restricted to one specified task: maintenance, cleaning and guarding of all the tourist sites in Jerusalem.

“The tourism minister at the time was Stas Misezhnikov [from Lieberman’s party]. He came to me with a demand to appoint the company’s chairman. I replied, ‘No problem, but with one condition: that he be qualified for the position.’ I was told that the candidate was someone named Vladimir Shklar [now number three on Leon’s list of candidates for the municipality]. Shklar submitted his application in the public tender, but was immediately ruled out because he lacks the requisite education − his application was rejected out of hand. I said, ‘Excuse me. With all due respect, he does not meet the requirements, find someone else.’ Suddenly we learn that a minister from Yisrael Beiteinu wants to get the government to change the company’s designated mission and totally revamp its regulations − without informing us − so it will also deal with education and marketing, which just happen to be Shklar’s areas of expertise.

“We said, ‘Sorry, this is not what we agreed on.’ We announced that we were unequivocally against a move to change the company’s designated aims. After that, it was finis with Lieberman. We haven’t been on speaking terms since. Afterward, I received messages from Leon, Lieberman’s confidant − and who was chairman of the Jerusalem Development Authority at the time − to the effect that Yvet was irked at my behavior.”

Have you ever met Lieberman?

“Sure, a few times.”

What went on in those meetings? Lieberman claims he never talked to you about appointments.

“He kept saying − and I didn’t understand what he was getting at − that I wasn’t helping him ‘advance the needs of our public,’ that we ‘were not helping his people enough.’ I told him, ‘I don’t know what you mean. You [Yisrael Beiteinu] have had a deputy mayor and a council member with me for five years in this administration. I accede to most of their requests. So what are you talking about? I don’t understand what you want.’”

You say that Lieberman is out to replace you because you didn’t work for the appointment of one of his cronies. Maybe he just thinks you’re a bad mayor?

“I don’t know if the appointments are a large or small factor in his calculations. Putting that aside for the moment, I draw your attention to the planning processes that are cooking in Jerusalem. Anyone who looks ahead understands that there is a very big carrot here at the end of the road.”

So you claim that Lieberman wants to strike it rich here?

“It’s not just him.”

But him too?

“Of course. I don’t have the slightest doubt. It’s power, it’s money, it’s control, it’s large-scale vested interests, both economic and political. Look, today, from the place I am in, I realize how much power the position of mayor carries. Lieberman and Deri want whoever occupies this chair to be beholden to them. There are processes at work here which it’s worth considering.

“When I took over [as mayor], I canceled a few projects that rezoned public land for residential purposes. What is Holyland [the large-scale housing project for which former mayor Ehud Olmert and others are now on trial]? It was a site for hotels that was purchased as such and then rezoned. Rezoning means huge profits. Rezoning requires a vote by elected public officials and it needs mayoral policy. I canceled what was on the books and declared assertively that my policy was zero rezoning. We have stuck to that. We are not rezoning [to allow developers to build housing]: not public areas, not commercial areas, not designated hotel sites. For that you need the mayor or, alternatively, his policy and, alternatively, the people below, or various manipulations such as there were in the past, and I know that this was the case in the past.”

You say that a dark conspiracy of vested interests has been woven against you, of people who want to return the Jerusalem municipality to the gloomy period of the Holyland affair and other periods like it?

“The answer is yes. The public doesn’t know the details, and I think that what you are about to hear will scare them, too. Before we dive into the processes which the city has undergone in the past five years and, equally important, into what’s in the pipeline, let me give you some perspective. Because this is in part what is motivating those who are challenging me. I changed the approach that existed here in the period of Olmert and [the mayor who succeeded Olmert, Uri] Lupolianski. They gave politicians influence and power equivalent to that of cabinet ministers. With me, the power resides mainly with the professional experts. In addition, all the municipal resources are now managed with total transparency, all the hearings are open to the public in a way they never were in the past, everything is done with working plans.

“What happened during this process? Those who were used to working with methods different from the ones that are now employed don’t know how to communicate with me. They use the language of the manipulators. There is a group of functionaries who tried to intercede and tried to hint. I don’t understand that language.”

What language do you mean?

“I will give you an example. After the elections, when we conducted talks on forming a coalition, I came across a job whose existence I hadn’t known about. The job description is ‘assigning planning projects in the Moriah Company.’ What does that mean? It turned out that under previous mayors, in the Moriah Company − the municipality’s infrastructure company, which operates on a scale of hundreds of millions of shekels a year. There was a unit, a man named Yaakov Halperin, a councillor from United Torah Judaism and close to the Jerusalem group of Likud. I found out that Moriah did not subcontract work by means of a classic tender. I almost didn’t succeed in forming a coalition, because of the absolute demand that was made on behalf of Halperin for him to get that job, giving him the power to decide which businessmen will manage costly projects in the city. You have no idea the battle royal that ensued when I eliminated the job and transferred the powers to the experts.”

So you understood what Halperin’s interests were, right, why he wanted the job?

“Of course. Subsequently, the experts decided to terminate the work of Yoav Alon, one of Likud’s big vote wranglers in Jerusalem, who was chosen to manage many Moriah projects during the period in which Halperin was in charge of assigning the projects. Another full-scale war broke out, including explicit declarations by Likud functionaries that they were keeping a record of everything. Why am I telling you this? Because it’s symbolic of the essence. I received Moriah, with an annual budget of NIS 100 million, at a low point. The company had lost the public’s trust. This year we are approaching NIS 700 million a year, and there are plans on the table for NIS 15 billion. The anticipated contractors’ profit is 20 percent. We all understand that there is going to be a mass of public money and tenders and projects here, extending into the indefinite future − fit for a king. The motivation, then, is to replace the mayor and replace the system. Because people see a huge carrot at the end of the process. These people looked for a candidate to replace me for a long time, you know. I am aware of that, I know that.”

Who are they?

“The Jerusalem group in Likud and, of course, Lieberman. That is the shady group that’s after me − it’s not just one person. They wanted someone who would be loyal to Aryeh Deri, loyal to Lieberman, someone who could work with the Jerusalem group. They conducted a very intensive search. They searched and searched and searched, and finally found someone from Givatayim. There were zero ideological considerations here. Look who Aryeh Deri − who is running Leon − placed at the head of the Shas list of candidates: Eliezer Simhayoff, who is charged with receiving bribes in the Holyland case. In fact, I removed him [from the municipality] in the wake of the indictment against him.”

Is Moshe Leon corrupt?

“I can’t say. Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.”

Shadow of Holyland

While Barkat and Leon duel for control of Israel’s capital city, a serial drama is underway in Tel Aviv District Court, which, it’s alleged, contains scenes straight out of film noir: fat envelopes stuffed with bribe money that people with vested interests hand over to municipal officials; tycoons who fund mayoral candidates and expect reciprocity from their man after he’s elected mayor; and building rights that increase astronomically at the speed of light.

The Holyland affair − in which the two mayors who preceded Barkat ‏(Olmert and Lupolianski‏) are on trial, charged with bribe taking, along with other former senior figures in the municipality − is the black cloud that looms over Jerusalem City Hall. That affair is also one of the aces held by Barkat, the high-tech man who made hundreds of millions of dollars before plunging into politics and who takes a salary of NIS 1 a year from the City; who is brandishing the clean politics that characterized his five-year term − which in fact ended without dirty affairs or the dawn arrest of ranking municipal officials.

“This used to be a very political municipality, very political,” Barkat says, “with deep roots and awful wheeler-dealer phenomena, which in some cases reached the courts, though there are also other cases about which we will never know anything, unfortunately.”

Do you think Olmert was a bad mayor?



“To begin with, I think he didn’t understand the DNA of this city.”

Olmert? He’s been a Jerusalemite for decades and is a very smart person.

“The city he received from Teddy [Kollek] and the city he passed on are not the same city. It was in his period − true, there was also the intifada − that the negative trends began, and they continued under Lupolianski. The method of management was political and substandard. That’s the reason you got Holyland. Under me there were no Holylands and there will be none.”

Do you really think there were many Holyland-type cases that we don’t know about, under those mayors?

“I’m afraid so. Look, here again I am afraid so, because I understand how decisions were made here about who won which tenders, I understand how planning-and-building decisions were made. I am afraid so. I appointed Kobi Kahlon as vice mayor in charge of planning and building. You have to know that tremendous pressures are being applied on me to remove him from the post. And everyone knows why: he is an honest man.

The Kahlon family is known for its integrity [Kobi is the brother of former communications minister Moshe Kahlon]. By the way, it’s clear to me that Moshe Leon struck a very simple deal with the Haredim. An empty white page, signature at the bottom, fill it in. Because he is absolutely dependent on the Haredim. The internal agreements that exist in United Torah Judaism relate to who he will appoint to be in charge of planning and building.”

Did you encounter a culture of bribery when you took office?

“Yes. One of my staff members was offered a six-figure sum to arrange something in the field of transportation.”

Is it true, as those running against you allege, that in the 2008 election campaign you hired private detectives to keep tabs on retired police Maj. Gen. Mickey Levy and obtain information about his political intentions? [Levy, now a Yesh Atid MK, was talked about as a possible mayoral candidate in 2008.]

“I have never used private detectives.”

Alliance with the kingmakers

Barkat forged an alliance with the religious-Zionist public in Jerusalem, the same people who provided Naftali Bennett with a handsome number of Knesset seats in the general election last January. Barkat grasped the fact that this group constitutes the kingmakers in the city − as the hinge group between the secular public and the Haredim − shortly before the 2008 elections. Having arrived at this insight, he veered sharply to the right and issued a series of declarations about the establishment of new neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. Five years on, some of the promises were upheld and Barkat managed to stay on good terms with this section of the city’s public.

In the past few weeks, to Leon’s chagrin, Barkat has been the recipient of a tailwind from religious-Zionist rabbis and settlers, who have issued statements of support for him.

Surveys conducted by various parties in the city also show that Leon − despite the fact that he too wears a kippa − has not been able to undermine the mayor’s status among the national-religious community.

Barkat’s right-wing image was obtained by toil. In his term as mayor, much energy was invested in realizing the provocative vision of the far-right to settle Jews in the heart of the city’s Arab neighborhoods. Barkat maintains close ties with the heads of Ateret Kohanim Yeshiva and Elad, the organization that manages the City of David archaeological site. They are the two main implementers of the plan to judaize all of Jerusalem. Some of their activists have been invited to his home.

Barkat frequently comes to their aid, as he did when he opposed the court on the issue of evacuating “Beit Yehonatan,” a building in the heart of Silwan ‏(an Arab neighborhood‏). Elad benefited from Barkat’s support for its grandiose project of establishing a large visitors’ center at the entrance to Silwan. Barkat, a secular person who dines in nonkosher restaurants in Jerusalem, also has sentiments for the guru of a large part of the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox communities, Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu, who heaped praise on Rabbi Meir Kahane, declared that the blood of a thousand Arabs is not worth the blood of one yeshiva student, and ruled that it is forbidden for Jews to rent apartments to gentiles.

Do you admire Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu?

“I admire him very, very much. He influenced my life greatly, in the positive sense of the term. I spent a great many hours with him, a great many hours, and came to know a man with tremendously broad horizons. He also sent me on a series of missions, one of them during the period of Lupolianski, who abused the gay-lesbian public in the city. There was friction, they went to court over every little thing, the High Court of Justice ruled against the municipality. There was a very negative atmosphere of friction. In reaction, the gay-lesbian community decided to hold an international Pride March in Jerusalem.

“It was then that the rabbi called me to ask whether I might be able to bridge the differences between the two sides. I held meetings at home with his son, Shmuel Eliahu, and also with representatives of the Open House [of the gay-lesbian community], and they explained why they were going to hold a march. The rabbis were in a state of shock. They didn’t know that it was a matter of saving lives, that a third of teenage suicides − of Haredim, religious-Zionist youth, secular people, Jews, Arabs − have to do with the gay-lesbian issue.

“In the meeting, the rabbis conveyed to them a message about the concept of ‘public,’ to the effect that in Jewish religious law a march of 100 people in an area of 100 meters is worse than an event of 100,000 people in a closed space. This was the blueprint that eventually led to the international event that took place, with an unwritten agreement, in the stadium of the Hebrew University, with the mutual consideration of all the groups.

“By the way − and people don’t know this − Rabbi Eliahu, in his Jewish aspect, believed very strongly in the Jewish people, in the unity of the nation. He believed that everyone must be drawn closer to everyone else.”

Unity against the Arabs. Do you identify with his harsh words about them?

“He didn’t say anything to me. What are you getting at? On the contrary, I can tell you that Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu’s approach was that the Arab public in Jerusalem needs to be cultivated to the same degree. My doctrine and commitment to the Arab public in Jerusalem come from the doctrine and outlook of Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu.”

Mordechai Eliahu issued a religious ruling forbidding the rental of apartments to gentiles, meaning Arabs. Do you also admire that aspect of his ideological doctrine?

“First of all, that is halakha [Jewish religious law]. One expects rabbis to tell you what the halakha says. The halakha is versatile.”

The question is whether you, as a secular individual, identify with statements of that kind, of prohibiting the rental of apartments to Arabs.

“That even runs contrary to the law, so it’s clear that my position on this issue is that of the law.”

Rabbi Eliahu stated often that the Jew is superior to the Arab. Do you share that view?

“We know our history, and the fact is that I maintain − like, by the way, an absolute majority of the Jewish population overall, and like the Knesset and Israeli law − that the State of Israel is Jewish and democratic. On the face of it, people will say that this is an impossible combination. I believe in that combination. I believe that the state has to be Jewish and democratic. The moment you place the word ‘Jewish’ in front of ‘democratic,’ you are defining which takes precedence − it is first of all Jewish and it is also democratic.”

We asked about Rabbi Eliahu, about the fact that, in the universal hierarchy, he sees Jews as superior to Arabs.

"I don’t know, I can’t say, I can’t tell you. It’s usually said that we are a special people [am segula]. Each of us, as a Jew, was in some way educated and raised on the fact that we are a special people. What does am segula mean? It’s part of the Jewish tradition, right? The answer is: give it your own interpretation. I give it my interpretation. I definitely believe that the Jewish people is looked at with higher standards than the rest of the world.”

But inside, is Nir Barkat a better person than Mahar from Zur Bahar [an Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem]?

“The answer, for this purpose, is no. But I am proud of the fact that I am a Jew, and I come with a tradition that expects things of us.”

Should Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah be Jewish neighborhoods?

“I don’t know how to answer that question.”

Why not? It’s a simple question.

“I will explain why. First, I will ask you: is Harlem a black quarter? From my point of view, a Jew can live wherever he wants everywhere in the world − in New York, in Damascus and in Jerusalem.”

And an Arab?


Will it bother you if five Arab families from Silwan move into the building next to you?

“First of all, I want to tell you that there more Arabs who live in Jewish neighborhoods than Jews in Arab neighborhoods.”

I asked about you, Nir Barkat − whether it would bother you if you had five Arabs as neighbors.

“From my point of view that is not relevant, the question is not relevant.”

Would it bother you or not?

“The answer is that in principle it is not relevant whether it would bother me or not.”

Personally, instinctively, would it bother you or not?

“I am unable to say, and it’s not relevant.”

Can’t you answer a simple question? Would it bother you to have an Arab neighbor or not?

“The answer is that it would not bother me. As mayor I look at macro processes and say to myself that I most certainly want there to be a Jewish majority in Jerusalem. Yes, I am not ashamed of that − I think Jerusalem should have a Jewish majority. It needs to be open and pluralistic, and the Zionist movement has to be very, very strong. I cannot, as mayor, tell a Jew or an Arab where to live and where not to live.”

When it comes to secular-Haredi relations, you set a rule not to encourage mixed populations. You will not support the establishment of a yeshiva in Kiryat Hayovel [a largely secular neighborhood] or the settlement of a core group of university students in Mea She’arim. So why isn’t this rule valid in East Jerusalem, too? Why are you encouraging settlements in Silwan, even though that certainly causes greater international damage than having university students in a Haredi neighborhood?

“What is ‘encouraging’? I am not responsible for whoever decides to live there. No one asked for my permission or my support. Municipal policy is that it’s easier to provide services to a homogeneous neighborhood. Now, if you want to be Haredi in a secular neighborhood, we will not be able to create all the optimal conditions that exist for a Haredi who lives in a Haredi neighborhood, and vice versa. So, when settlers, residents who want to live in Silwan, come to you, I can’t tell them either way. On the contrary, it is their full right.”

And you are here to uphold their right?

“Absolutely, I will uphold their right.”

But it’s not just to uphold their right. You mobilized on their behalf in a way that completely contradicts your policy in West Jerusalem.

“That is definitely not so. I am the first who set in motion the replanning of neighborhoods in the city’s eastern section. I passed a revamped plan for Silwan. Under the law, I should have demolished 99 percent of the buildings in Silwan. Does any sensible person understand that? What kind of nonsense is that? I said I want one law for everyone.

“We decided, in intensive work, to replan the streets and to allow buildings of up to four stories. The plan was passed with zero opposition. Neither the National Union nor Meretz objected, and the residents love the plan. Only about 20 buildings higher than four stories remain, one of which is Beit Yehonatan. But I want the same law to apply to all of them. [The people of] Beit Yehonatan are building violators, and we have to demand of them what we demand of all the other buildings, irrespective of whether the owners were Arabs and they were bought by Jews, or vice versa. That does not interest me, the ownership does not interest me.”

You are dissembling. Your behavior was the opposite of what one would expect of a responsible mayor in such a volatile city. Your task is to stop Jewish building in the heart of Arab neighborhoods.

“No way. Your viewpoint is nonlegal.”

In the eyes of many, above all the Americans, your support for Jewish settlement in Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah painted you as a pyromaniac.

“That’s your opinion. I will say only that the view you put forward is not legal anywhere in the world. I’d like to see you say the same thing in the United States − in New York or in Chicago.”

Jerusalem is not the United States.

“That’s not important. In every enlightened place in the world, in every enlightened country, your statement is not legal, to be truthful.”

Are you against the Clinton plan for an agreement between us and the Palestinians?


You are against any division of Jerusalem?

“Very true.”

In any agreement? In any solution?

“Very true.”

Are you in favor of Greater Israel?

“I am unable to tell you what that means, but I am against dividing Jerusalem, period.”

You know what Greater Israel is. Are you in favor of Greater Israel?

“I am not a Greater Israel person in the classic sense of the term, but I will defend Jews who want to live wherever they want in the world.”

Are you against returning territories?

“I don’t know what being against returning territories means. I think it depends on the parcellation. But as things stand, I don’t see that happening, as of now.”

From your point of view, the status quo with the Palestinians can continue as it is today?

“There is no one to talk to today.”

Can the situation in which there are 2.5 million Palestinians here without either civil rights or a state continue?

“I don’t know.”

From your point of view, is it a situation that can continue for a long time to come?

“The answer is unequivocally yes.”

Barkat hopes that the status quo in Jerusalem will also continue, and that on October 22 he will defeat the candidate of the sophisticated politicians Deri and Lieberman, who wanted to replace him with their crony. He and his staff are worried, mainly because of the Haredim, who are supposedly going to mobilize on election day to crown the man from Givatayim in Jerusalem.

Still, the polls at least predict that Barkat will be the next mayor of Jerusalem. As of now, Leon does not appear to have made inroads among Barkat’s power base in the non-Haredi population. The Haredim alone cannot put him in the mayor’s office.

Responses: Barkat is panicking

Councillor Yaakov Halperin: “He [Barkat] is a low-down liar. a hunted man. Barkat used the municipality’s services for his benefit and for the benefit of his people and for the benefit of his admen.

“I was head of the committee for assigning projects [in Moriah] for 16 years. There were no manipulations, everything was done above-board and honestly. It is not true that the coalition talks almost collapsed over that job. It’s only natural for everyone to want to keep the position he had before the elections. Halperin added that Yoav Alon is one of the leading project managers in the country, and under the management that Barkat himself appointed in Moriah, Alon was ranked second among 22 project managers that had worked with the company.

Moshe Leon’s campaign headquarters: “Support for Moshe Leon cuts across population segments and political parties. Barkat is trying to recycle lies he has already disseminated in the past. He is in a state of panic in the light of his failures and is trying to divert fire from the primary issues on the agenda, namely why the property tax [arnona] in Jerusalem is the highest in the country; why 90,000 residents left Jerusalem during Barkat’s term; why Jerusalem is in 144th place out of 152 municipalities and local councils, lower than Taibeh and Shfaram, in terms of students’ eligibility for a matriculation certificate.

“If Barkat had even one achievement to take pride in, he would not be compelled to recycle baseless lies. The true facts are:

‏(A‏) Dr. Vladimir Shklar, who served as head of a department in the municipality, was unanimously elected by the board of directors, including the municipality’s representatives on the board, as director general of the East Jerusalem Development Company.

‏(B‏) The first person who called to congratulate Dr. Shklar after his election by the board was the mayor, Nir Barkat.

‏(C‏) Barkat invited Dr. Shklar to his home on Friday for breakfast together with the director general of the municipality, Yossi Heyman. In that meeting, Barkat congratulated Dr. Shklar warmly.”

‏(D‏) Avigdor Lieberman never spoke to Nir Barkat about the Shklar matter. This proves that a lie that is repeated 100 times does not always become the truth.”

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat on home turf. “We all understand that there is going to be a mass of public money, tenders and projects here, extending into the indefinite future – fit for a king.”Credit: Ilya Melnikov
Cold comforts: The Barkats and Netanyahus at the ice show in Jerusalem last April.
Barkat at the opening of a post office in Isawiyah, East Jerusalem, in January 2012.



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


בנימין נתניהו השקת ספר

Netanyahu’s Israel Is About to Slam the Door on the Diaspora

עדי שטרן

Head of Israel’s Top Art Academy Leads a Quiet Revolution

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

Skyscrapers in Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv.

Israel May Have Caught the Worst American Disease, New Research Shows

ג'אמיל דקוור

Why the Head of ACLU’s Human Rights Program Has Regrets About Emigrating From Israel


Netanyahu’s Election Win Dealt a Grievous Blow to Judaism