Mayor Nir Barkat.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Outgoing Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat warned Jerusalem Post readers in the capital on Thursday not to vote for mayoral candidates Ofer Berkovitch or Moshe Lion.
Barkat said he backs Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin to succeed him not only because of Elkin’s qualifications but also because he saw Berkovitch and Lion work as his deputy mayors.
“Jerusalem is not a game,” Barkat said. “For Jerusalem to succeed, you have to understand how to manage a complex situation and know how to create partnerships, support and relationships between the different sectors, manage 10,000 employees and NIS 9b. and know how to solicit funding from the national government.”
Barkat noted that a run-off race is likely, because no candidate is expected to get 40% of the vote. He predicted Berkovitch would lose the second round to any competitor, so he asked voters to pick Elkin over Lion to make the run-off and beat Berkovitch.
“Berkovitch does not know how to reach out to the ultra-Orthodox, just like [deputy mayor and candidate Yossi] Daitch doesn’t know how to go to the secular. This is unfortunate, because to manage the city, you have to be able to earn the trust of all people. People should think who has the best chance to be mayor, not who do I like most or who is most similar to me. That’s where Elkin is better in my mind.”
Barkat called Berkovitch “a charlatan, who lacks experience, depth and the ability to lead a professional team.” He said Berkovitch also had problems with interpersonal relationships.
“He is good at marketing and Facebook, but that’s not deep enough to lead and manage the city,” he said. “It’s funny that he takes credit for everything that worked over the past decade, and all the challenges are not his. To be a team player, you need to not take credit for yourself. You need to share credit and create partnerships.”
Regarding Lion, Barkat said he was concerned about the support he gets from the Yisrael Beytenu and Shas parties. He said their backing “raises questions about his commitment and who he is loyal to.” He also mocked Lion’s lack of global understanding and international experience.
Berkovitch said in response that he quit his deputy mayor post last November because Barkat was making concessions to the haredim to help his entry into national politics, and now the mayor is only criticizing him, because he wants Elkin to help him in the Likud primary.
"Barkat is behaving unprofessionally and disrespectfully toward his former political ally and deputy mayor for purely political reasons," the Berkovitch campaign said. "It is unfortunate that Barkat is ending his tenure as a lowly political hack."
Lion responded that “Barkat cannot scold anyone after he abandoned the city three years ago for national politics and his own personal good and then made a dirty deal with Elkin.”
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