Mayor takes to the streets

Mayor Nir Barkat not only succeeded in running for office but, once elected, he now runs in office. The new chief at City Hall, a 49-year-old resident of Beit Hakerem, was seen last week by In Jerusalem jogging from his villa to Kikar Safra, dressed in a T-shirt, shorts and running shoes. Security personnel drove alongside in a jeep with the lights flickering, and the mayor waved to Jerusalem residents who recognized him. Evyatar Elad, the new city spokesman, confirmed that Barkat had decided to forgo his official driver's services in the early morning "several times a week" and instead jog to work, about seven kilometers away. Barkat will take different routes, as he can thus take note of potholes, litter and other problems along the way. An amateur long-distance runner, both literally and figuratively (he lost the previous mayoral race five years ago but remained leader of the opposition), Barkat served as a combat officer in the Israel Defense Forces and is used to it. He has run a 42-kilometer race in the past, and rain and cold temperatures, said Elad, don't faze him. After the jog at the other side of the city, which takes him less than half an hour, the mayor takes a shower in his office and dons his official "uniform." Elad did not commit his boss to building additional jogging and bicycle paths in the city but it seems likely, given that Barkat jogs on the sidewalks and may sometimes take his bike to work instead of jogging. Follow this example, Jerusalemite couch potatoes!