Monday, August 19, 2013

A contrarian view of Jerusalem's Mayor Barkat

I express my opinion of the city's wildly popular mayor here at the Times of Israel:

I point out that Nir Barkat has done nothing for the average resident/citizen, and that normal municipal services have become "favors" that the opposition has to beg for. I also point out that the existing dichotomy between the mega-project/economic growth/tourism-chasing approach versus the resident-services approach has undesirable gender-conflict overtones.


יאיר said...

Thanks for the article. I also think Rachel Azaria is AMAZING, but she was also amazing as a coalition member, during most Barkat's term. There's no contradiction. And also - there are two voting ballots, and Rachrl Azaria is not going against Barkat - so I think there's no contradiction there too.

Julie@walkablejlm said...

Yair, I’ve changed the line that made it sound as though I thought Azaria was running against Barkat … I apologize for having expressed myself so carelessly. Thank you for pointing that out.

Regarding the opposition-coalition issue – of course I’m aware that Azaria was an effective member of Barkat's coalition until ousted. But there's still something weird about the idea that a separate faction is required to represent residents and their needs, even within the "coalition" -- as though resident/neighborhood services are not normal concerns of a municipal leadership. There's something inherently "oppositional" about that. Here's what Azaria herself has to say in an interview about the difference between being in the coalition and being in the opposition:

Q: Since you left the coalition, have you been able to do more or less?
A: Not more and not less because we have people in Jerusalem who believe in what we are doing. So we just use different platforms. So we just push the municipality to do what we believe in. At the end of the day you are supposed to push the municipality to do what you believe in. As a member of the coalition I did it through convincing the mayor. As a member of the opposition I did it through pushing people to city council meetings.

A lot of pushing and convincing, even in the coalition -- because Azaria and Barkat were obviously not on the same page.