Today is our last chance to stop the decline of Jerusalem
Our vision is of a city where investment and business enterprise are encouraged.
By NAOMI TSUR
When someone leaps from one of the top floors of a skyscraper, during the descent he is assailed both by images of meaningful moments in his life and by a desperate longing for a possible safety net to halt his fall. This is a useful analogy for Jerusalem and its public, as we realize that today is our last chance to prevent the social, cultural and economic collapse of our capital city and the spiritual capital of billions around the world.
The one thing we can be sure of is not to expect an effective safety net from the same hands that precipitated our fall. The haredi sector is precisely what its name implies: its political parties will not accept ministerial portfolios at the government level, making do with the Knesset Finance Committee and the rank of deputy minister (to avoid the contamination of Zionism). We cannot expect them to be accountable to the broader Jerusalem population, be they Jews or Arabs.
Ever since Ehud Olmert's second term as mayor, there has been a haredi majority on the city council, which certainly does not represent the majority of residents (haredim are 20 percent of the city and 35% of the Jewish population) and which has brought about the neglect of our educational institutions, alongside a cultural, economic and environmental decline for Jerusalem as a whole.
NIR BARKAT, running for mayor at the head of Jerusalem Will Succeed, has put together a list that embraces many pieces of the Jerusalem mosaic. It promotes a team of women and men from diverse areas of civil society and from different ends of the political spectrum: Likud, Labor, religious Zionists, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, the physically challenged, representatives of the Anglo, French, Russian and Ethiopian communities, senior citizens and youth.
The Barkat Plan proposes the only feasible safety net for Jerusalem. Our vision is of a city where investment and business enterprise are encouraged; we are committed to sustainable smart growth and obligated to establish mechanisms for public participation in the policy-making process.
In the panic of the dive, let us not be misled. The Left has disseminated a somewhat racist slogan, "No more haredization," while attacking Nir as being too right-wing.
Right-wing factions preach Zionism, but strangely enough quite a few right-wing Jerusalemites have mistakenly convinced themselves that Meir Porush will proudly represent the interests of the religious Zionist camp, the very camp he has fought so long and so bitterly in the Knesset on an ideological platform, which places a clear divide between the Zionist and non-Zionist religious sectors.
Nir Barkat offers us a chance to consolidate the ranks of the pro-Jerusalem camp and lead our capital on to prosperity and economic growth.
I personally am extremely proud to be running on the Jerusalem Will Succeed ticket, and I hope and pray that a vast majority of residents will cast their vote to give us the opportunity to turn our city around, turning negative trends into positive ones, as quickly as possible.
The writer is third on the Jerusalem Will Succeed list for city council.
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