(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Ze’ev Elkin said on Thursday that Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was among the first people urging him to run for mayor of the capital in the upcoming October election.
In an interview with 101.5 FM radio, Elkin said that he did not decide yet whether or not to run, and that he will announce his decision in the coming weeks.
”We will make the decision in cooperation with the prime minister – [hopefully] in the coming weeks,” he said.
“This is a very big challenge, and I am taking this matter seriously,” he continued.
When asked if he received support from Barkat, Elkin said: “Yes – Nir would like me to run. He was among the first people to approach me.
“We will make our decisions soon. We are an organized movement, we have a chairman whom we will consult with, and we will announce our plans,” he said.
A spokesman for Nir Barkat would not reply to a request from The Jerusalem Post
to comment on Elkin’s remarks.
As the Jerusalem Affairs Minister, Elkin attempted to promote a plan to separate the east Jerusalem neighborhoods located behind the security barrier from the capital.
In an interview with the Post at the time, Elkin said that the plan is intended to combat “a demographic ticking time bomb” that the capital is facing.
By making these neighborhoods – where over 120,000 Arabs live – into a separated municipal entity, the percentage of Jews in the capital would rise.
However, when the plan faced its first hurdle in the Knesset, it was blocked by the Bayit Yehudi party. MK Bezalel Smotrich told the Post
that as he sees it, separating these areas from Jerusalem is essentially the first step before handing them over to the Palestinian Authority.
“We should make these areas a part of Israel, and bring the state [police and municipality services] back,” he said. “[it’s] just like the problems we are facing with the Beduin in the Negev – a lack of governance and law enforcement. So these areas should also be cut off? We need to assume responsibility and take care of these areas,” he said in January.
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