Why I endorse Nir Barkat for Mayor of Jerusalem

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The Jerusalem elections will have profound long term repercussions on the future of the capital of Israel.

As a religious Zionist I find it surrealistic that Meir Porush, a Haredi with a one dimensional outlook, would even seek to become Mayor. I support Nir Barkat because I believe he is the only candidate capable of restoring Jerusalem to its former glory.

What sort of a message would we be sending were we to elect a Mayor who directs his children not to serve in the IDF and represents a party that over the past century has opposed the creation of a Jewish state on the grounds that it was against the “will of the Almighty”?

On top of this, the party which Meir Porush represents also has a long tradition of being exclusively concerned with the interests of its own followers, even when they conflicted with the national interest. Porush is one of the leaders of a haredi party which has been carrying out a campaign to purge religious Zionist rabbis like Rabbi Druckman from all positions of influence in the Chief Rabbinate and other state rabbinical roles.

He represents an ideology which discourages youngsters from obtaining any secular education. He holds up as role models those programmed exclusively to learn Torah without earning a livelihood and thus becoming dependant on the welfare system for the duration of their lives.

How will a Mayor holding such views be able to encourage investment and persuade young people to find employment and remain in Jerusalem? How will such a Mayor be able to identify with and represent non Haredim? How will he be able to inspire Diaspora Jews to support Jerusalem? And how will he be able to effectively communicate with the world at large?

It is also surrealistic that at a time when every vote counts, an editorial in Haaretz has called on Jerusalemites not to support Nir Barkat because he endorses a united Jerusalem. Avrum Burg also supports Meir Porush – which says it all.

All of us concerned about the future of this beautiful city, the heart of the Jewish people, should support Nir Barkat. If he fails to win this election it will be a loss to all citizens of Jerusalem (including haredim) because the social and economic consequences of a Porush victory are guaranteed to intensify the exodus of productive Jews and increase the impoverishment of the city.

The greatest obstacle Barkat faces is apathy. It is crucial that Jerusalem residents supporting him ensure that they exercise their right to vote.

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