Mayor Nir Barkat at the Jerusalem Marathon press conference this past March.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
At the end of last month’s city council meeting, ultra-Orthodox councilman Eliezer Rauchberger couldn’t restrain himself. He stood up, screaming and cursing Mayor Nir Barkat’s decision, approved by the council, to provide a budget for Chachmei Lev, Jerusalem’s first and so far only yeshiva that combines talmudic studies with an academic curriculum in preparation for the matriculation exams (bagrut).“Chachmei Lev is toxic; it is poisoning haredi society from inside!” roared Rauchberger. “It is inconceivable that an institution aimed at the destruction of the haredi way of life and working against our great rabbis will be installed in the heart of haredi neighborhoods.”