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