The Big Felafel

A Post to Jerusalem’s Mayor Barkat: Did Your Landlord Raise the Rent Too?

apartment-drawingThis is an open letter to Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat, the city council and young frustrated Jerusalem citizens who have waited for change long enough.

Dear Mayor Barkat,
What’s up? I’m sure you’re busy, but this is an urgent matter which affects the young population of Jerusalem. Six months ago you were elected into office promising great change for the city. But when it comes to your commitment to the young people of Jerusalem and the disastrous housing problem, you have yet to make a dent, submit a proposal or take action on the matter.

Once again, I know you are the mayor and dealing with a full plate, but I can’t help but feel neglected. And I am not alone. I also point my neglected finger at the party Hitorerut-Yerushalmim (Wake up-Jerusalem) that also made unfulfilled promises to young voters.

Although the economic situation is running on an empty tank of gas, landlords across Jerusalem continue to raise the price of rent. Almost every person I know has been informed by their landlord that their rent will be going up at least 10%. So, while your apartment ages and becomes more rundown you find yourself paying more to live there. Fair? No. Is our city council and mayor aware of the situation? Yes.

Mayor Barkat today is the day to make change. Why are there no proper consumer rights organizations to protect you from corrupt landlords? Why is their no proposition making its way to the Knesset floor demanding rent control? The stories I have heard from rent raising to threats of being kicked out, are endless yet there seems to be no beginning to your fight against this fraud.

There was so much talk about affordable housing before election day but come the day after and the day after that, I have yet to hear another word about it. While Israel and the international community debate about construction in settlements and outposts, no judgment is made on the housing catastrophe in the country’s capital.

Is asking for rent control such a far fetched concept? Isn’t it you who wants and needs people to stay put in your city? Students and young families belong in the heart of the country and are the key to the revitalization of this city, but you have yet to try to open the locked — bolted — doors. Soon the only doors left will be those of vacant apartments where the rent became more than a couple could budget, or a landlord that yelled at his tenants too many times or simply homes that are unsuitable to live in — leaving the young to move out of the city and out of their dreams.

Do not become like all the other politicians, representing their interests before concerning themselves with their citizens’ fears. Give the next generation what they rightly deserve, a home for the future at a reasonable price.

Yours truly,
Molly, a concerned young citizen of Jerusalem


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. maha | politics & art pingbacked on 13 years, 7 months ago


  1. * Haketem says:

    Seems like the municipality would rather see a city filled with empty apartments belonging to foreign Arnona-paying citizens who don’t use up parking, water, sewage, or garbage most of the year.
    Us Jerusalemites are a burden on the municipality, since we use up the resources that could have gone to building a few more floors to the municipal building (I hear Barkat’s new office, which cost us 200,000$, is starting to get crowded)

    | Reply Posted 13 years, 10 months ago
  2. Molly, you forgot to mention the problem with Mexican food.

    | Reply Posted 13 years, 10 months ago
  3. * Yitz Woolf says:

    To Haektem: I never thought of it but now that you mentioned it, less water usage seems like a very important advantage towards having empty apartments.

    Out of curiosity, does anyone know of someone that has left Jerusalem because of the rental rates?

    | Reply Posted 13 years, 10 months ago
  4. * Molly says:

    Wow $200,000- that’s a lot of IKEA. Maybe if Jerusalem becomes a ghost town they won’t have to worry about it in Peace negotiations.

    Yitz- I know several people who have left- due to renting, arnona, and expensive preschools!

    | Reply Posted 13 years, 10 months ago
  5. * shira says:

    great post! thanks for giving this issue a voice. it’s a major concern of mine, too. i don’t want to leave jerusalem and nir shouldn’t want to leave, considering i work 2 jobs and pay more taxes than the entire population of meah shearim combined!
    that’s right. i went there. im a hater. but you know its true.

    | Reply Posted 13 years, 10 months ago
  6. * Oded says:

    @Yitz: yes most people who leave Jerusalem leave because of the price of housing (maybe not rents because Israelis tend to buy their apartments).

    @Molly: I have news for you: Barkat won’t do anything. Not because he does not want to. But because he is not able to. I supported him, I know what is going on in the Mayor’s Office and it’s very sad: a woman named Michal Shalem took control of everything, she is the real mayor and she does not care about anything.
    Everybody is just terrified from her, even Barkat. Nothing will happen.

    | Reply Posted 13 years, 10 months ago
  7. * Molly says:

    Oded- who is this person- Michal Shalem? What is her title and how does she have power? Let’s expose what is going on. I simply don’t believe in “nothing will happen” because everything can happen and we have the potential to make it that way. Let me know any info you have! Thanks!

    | Reply Posted 13 years, 10 months ago
  8. * Oded says:

    Michal Shalem is Barkat’s “Rosh Mate”, a new function that never existed before. Everything goes through her nd she is the one that decides on all the issues. Barkat can say whatever he wants, but she is the one with power. We have seen things in the last months when Barkat said he wanted something to be done, but she wanted the opposite, and she got her way.
    Why does she have that power ? Because Barkat gave it to her. Why did he do that and why does he change it ? Nobody has a clue. The truth is that Barkat is not even aware of the problems, not even aware that people are complaining, that at this rate nobody will support him next time – because she cut him from the grassroots activists and the city real people.
    There will be an uprising. It will come from the city council. But it’s too soon for them to start it, the elections are only in 4 years and a half.

    | Reply Posted 13 years, 10 months ago
  9. * Gidon Ariel says:

    | Reply Posted 13 years, 10 months ago

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