Nir Barkat 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
MKs from across the spectrum joined Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat at the Knesset on
Monday to help in his struggle to increase the special budget that the state
allocates each year to Jerusalem.
The annual allocation is meant to help
minimize the city’s debt, given Jerusalem’s unique position and
This practice, called the Jerusalem Rule, was started in 2001. But
because the amount of money is not predetermined, the mayor must ask the prime
minister and the Finance Ministry every year for additional funds.
allocation has been steadily decreasing each year, from NIS 269 million in 2001
to NIS 185m. in 2010. The city is requesting at least NIS 285m. for
The money from the Jerusalem Rule accounted for 12.8% of the
municipal budget in 2001. In 2010, the funding accounted for only
More than 30 MKs came for part or all of Monday’s emergency meeting
to express their support for the capital.
“It was testimony to what we
know, that the public identifies with the future of a strong Jerusalem,” Barkat
told The Jerusalem Post at the conclusion of the meeting.
concerned about the future of Jerusalem, which is also the soul of the Jewish
people. It’s not just a matter for the residents... it’s a national thing,” he
said, adding that he was heartened to see lawmakers from both coalition parties
and the opposition in attendance.
Jerusalem is the poorest large city in
While poverty has increased by 7% in the past decade, the
government’s allocation has decreased by 30%, the municipality
“Jerusalem is a place where everyone lives together – there are
lots of Jews who are religious, lots of Jews who aren’t religious, and lots of
Arabs, and if we can’t manage Jerusalem, we have no hope for the government to
manage the country,” said MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), chairman of the
State Control Committee chairman Yoel Hasson (Kadima)
echoed the need for special help. “Jerusalem is not like any other city, and
it’s not just a symbol. You have to give preference to Jerusalem,” he
MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), the head of the coalition, said he would
personally call on the prime minister and the finance minister to approve the
“I promise to do everything that I can for Jerusalem’s
sake,” he said. “If we all go together, we will succeed.”
The meeting was
dominated by discussion over the lack of affordable housing in the city and the
recent revelations of the “Palestinian Papers” by Al- Jazeera, including the
reports that the Palestinian Authority had agreed in 2008 to relinquish its
claim to Gilo, French Hill, Ramot and other, but not all, Jewish neighborhoods
in the city’s east.
Last week, the municipality launched a public
relations campaign called “We can’t lose Jerusalem,” aimed at convincing the
government to increase funding for the city.
Barkat told the Post he was
confident that the prime minister would support the city’s request.
cannot let us stand alone in our efforts to strengthen Jerusalem,” he said.