With Anthony Weiner running in the New York City Mayoral Elections, it’s hard (no pun intended) to remember there are other mayoral elections taking place all over the world—including Jerusalem.
Weiner, if you recall, was a congressman who admitted to sexting and tweeting pictures of himself (selfies with a twist) to women. The story was gold for late-night shows—you couldn’t come up with a better name than Weiner to make the weiner jokes that were to follow.
After the scandal, Weiner went to rehab and was cured. Hallelujah! Weiner then decided to run for New York City Mayor, which brings us to present day news headlines. Oh, and he wasn’t really cured of this sexting disease and more women and pictures have come forward in what appears to be his “Fifty Shades of Weiner.”
But as I said, there are other mayoral elections, and for this Jerusalemite, I’m focusing on the candidates here. Current Mayor Nir Barkat, will once again be running for office, and Moshe Leon of Likud will be his challenger. Leon, is only a recent Jerusalem resident, and hoping to garner support from the Haredi citizens of Jerusalem who do not have a candidate running in this election. In my opinion, Leon has no chance.
I don’t normally talk politics, and frankly don’t even like politicians, but I feel it is my duty as a citizen of Jerusalem and a blogger of the Internet world, to express my gratitude to Mayor Nir Barkat.
Mayor Barkat has renovated and reinvigorated the city of Jerusalem, and all for NIS 1 a year salary. I love that he wears gap sweaters, has perfect English, and runs to work sometimes. During his term he has worked hard on increasing tourism, entertainment and culture and beautifying the city. Thanks to his efforts, we now enjoy a beautiful new Train Station open-air mall with free morning yoga, delicious cafes and plenty of safe space for children to roam and play freely. Another outstanding achievement is the beautiful new Teddy Park which is home to a fountain that shoots water for a half-hour giving children and adults alike, the opportunity to run, dance and scream like maniacs through the closest thing to a free pool or beach in the city.
From the marathons to the food truck, and culture beyond, Mayor Barkat has taken Jerusalem to a whole new level and I look forward to seeing what he does with his next five years. I hope he will finally resolve the housing issues for young families, transportation and help us get our first coffee shop in Armon Hanatziv.
As for what I wrote above about the pictures; t’s true, I do have pictures. And it’s true they are not like Weiner’s. For the last three years I have participated in almost every city race, in which the mayor also participated. Every time I see the mayor I ask to take a picture with him. He has never said no, and always with a gracious smile, and kind words, he has taken time out of his busy schedule to say ‘cheese.’ That’s the type of photos you want your mayor to be taking!
He may not know it, but he has become my running buddy. We actually run a similar pace, and in the Jerusalem Half-marathon in 2012, during the last few kilometers, running through freezing hail, I saw the mayor, ran by him and said, “I’m going to beat you.” Although I was exhausted and cold, I was motivated by the sheer fact that I would have to now beat the mayor. And I did. Woo hoo.
I look forward to running many a race with my buddy in his next term and remind all of you to vote on October 22, 2013.
This 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.
Molly, a concerned young citizen of Jerusalem
I’m angry. What a surprise. I’m in the daze of a food nightmare. Living near Emek Refaim Street, you would think a girl could have her way with restaurants: endless options, yummy in your tummy food, and the cultural basics. But apparently the Food Gods don’t like us Jerusalemites.And instead of lots of different restaurants, whipping up all kinds of food-we in Jerusalem must suffer with choice A: falafel or choice B: café food. Crap and crap.
In a previous anger post, I wrote about my desire for a Mexican restaurant in Jerusalem. Needless to say, my prayers and rants have gone unanswered. But friends, it just gets worse. Since my cries for Mexican food, two pizza places have opened in my neighborhood. And then…then this happened (focus your eyes on the picture). My cheap wrap place that almost felt like Mexican food if you closed your eyes tight enough and just held on to the wrap like it was a burrito, Tarantino’s, suddenly without warning closed down and a café Hillel is now opening in its place. Oh, the food inhumanity! Oh, the food torture! And obviously the worst part about it: THERE IS A CAFÉ HILLEL TWO BLOCKS DOWN!
Is this for real? Isn’t it bad enough that Emek Refaim is lined with cafes? It’s just the same menu, with different names for the salads, soups and sandwiches. Not to mention the difference in price from Café Aroma to Caffit for practically the same meal.
Now I know Nir Barkat just became mayor, but wasn’t he all about adding some culture to this city? I’m not saying that adding Mexican should be the first item on his agenda…no, I am. I think Mayor Barkat should shut down the building of this new café Hillel, which is clearly an abuse of our taste buds and a monotonous slap in the face. And instead, let us join together and build a burrito stand and unite for the sake of Jerusalem and her culture. Mexican food is just the beginning!
Stop the lame cafes from taking over our streets. They can have their menus but not our shekels!
Last week, we attend the Jerusalem Business Networking Forum’s evening with Nir Barkat, who is running for mayor of Jerusalem.
We wanted to see, if elected, would he take care of the most pressing issues in Jerusalem:
- get rid of the ridiculous TV tax
- install a ticket machine at the Central Bus Station that assigns seats for inter-city travel
- teach city office workers to be pleasant, polite and helpful
Although he didn’t give a direct answer, he did talk about bringing 10 million tourists here over the next few years and mentioned a website he started called gojerusalem for finding out about what’s going on in Jerusalem.
This is how I found out about the soup festival which I plan on attending. I don’t know if I would actually call it a “festival” but rather a good deal on soup that gives you entrance into the fancy David Citadel Hotel. But I guess that title wouldn’t be as catchy.
If you need me, I’ll be in the David Citadel from 10am-11pm packing in the all-you-can-eat soup for 48 shekels.