“I will continue to work with the prime minister to further the interests of the people of Jerusalem, but will not report to Ze’ev Elkin,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said on Wednesday, following Elkin’s appointment earlier this week as Jerusalem Affairs Minister.
Noting that the prime minister and Elkin agreed that such a ministry was counterproductive – as evidenced by pronounced tensions between Barkat and Naftali Bennett, who headed the office before the government collapsed – the mayor said the three had jointly agreed to eliminate the ministry as recently as Jerusalem Day.
During Bennett’s tumultuous tenure, he and Barkat could not agree on appointments or municipal budget allocations for over one year, resulting in the mayor naming himself temporary director-general of the ministry to ensure the city could continue to function.
“Why do we need a Jerusalem Affairs Ministry here?” Barkat said during a phone interview. “They have no accountability and no responsibility.”