(photo credit: VERA HACHUEL SUISSA)
During his first five-year term as mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat raised approximately NIS 500 million in investments for the city’s municipal budget, earmarked to improve the capital’s education and cultural infrastructure, the municipality announced Monday.
In a statement, Barkat said the funds were raised from generous donations by numerous pro-Israel foundations and private philanthropists, including the Jerusalem Foundation, the Schusterman Foundation, and the Leichtag Foundation.
“The donations were raised through work from philanthropists and foundations around the world to invest in projects for the city, its residents, and visitors,” said Barkat in the statement.
“This is a vote of confidence in the direction that we are leading the city.”
Of the roughly NIS 500m. infusion, Barkat said some NIS 206m. will be invested in higher education, benefiting Hadassah College, the Hebrew University, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, and the genetics unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
The second biggest expenditure will go toward cultural institutions, with NIS 197m. invested in upgrades to the Jerusalem Theater, the Tisch Family Biblical Zoo, Museum of Tolerance, Botanical Garden, and others.
Some NIS 25m. will also be invested in sporting facilities; NIS 20m. in social entrepreneurship; NIS 13m. for computer upgrades to city schools; NIS 13m. for welfare and constructing a spiritual center for Ethiopian residents; NIS 13m. toward downtown development; NIS 9m. for affordable housing; and NIS 7m. to build a downtown youth center.
Barkat lauded the funds raised as a reflection of pronounced international support for the capital.
“We were able to translate [donors] love for Jerusalem throughout the world into donations of hundreds of millions of shekels into the city,” he said. “Thankfully, donors have seen what happens to the funds invested in recent years in Jerusalem, and believe in the direction we are leading the development of the city.”