Nir Barkat has been elected mayor of Jerusalem less than 48 hours ago.
Who is he? First of all, he’s regarded as the savior of the secular population in the capital — and this is why most secular people in Jerusalem bothered to go out and vote. Secondly, he’s a right-wing ideologist who had made his money in the hi-tech industry. No doubt an interesting character.
In any case, Nir isn’t wasting any time. He’s been sitting on the opposition side of the city council for the past five years, and I guess he feels like it’s time to consummate all his unfulfilled plans. Yesterday, after his victory had been confirmed, he held a press conference in King David hotel, and declared — among other things — that he would consider dismantling the Cords Bridge and canceling the light rail project!
Hundreds of millions of Shekels have already been spent in these two large-scale projects; not to mention years of hard work. It’s been less than 5 months since the Chords Bridge was inaugurated, and several segments of the light rail are already in place.
Why would he do it? Mr. Barkat says both the Chords Bridge and the light rail project aren’t “sacred cows”, and that they cost too much at the expense of the residents and at the expense of the culture budget, the education budget, etc.
He may be right, but I think it’s a bit too early to come out with such bombastic statements.