Hamas may conquer Jerusalem within 12 years, says mayor
Uri Lupolianski warns cabinet ministers that demographic shift could lead to Palestinian group gaining control of Israel’s capital. As government discusses 40-year anniversary of city's reunification, Olmert promises to invest in its development
"Jerusalem may, God forbid, not be under Jewish sovereignty, but ruled by Hamas, which knows that it can conquer Jerusalem demographically within 12 years. We need a plan in order to ensure that Jerusalem remain Israel’s capital for all eternity,” Lupolianski said.
The government met for its weekly meeting at the Menahem Begin Heritage Center located opposite the Old City walls, in order to mark the 40-year anniversary of the city's reunification.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert clarified at the start of the meeting that the government would approve a series of decisions aimed at strengthening Jerusalem.
Olmert noted that the government would invest NIS 5.75 billion in activities aimed at strengthening Jerusalem by developing the Old City, transferring government units to the capital and encouraging economic growth through grants.
Cabinet meeting (Photo: Haim Zach)
"We all need to take the mayor’s comments seriously,” Minister Jacob Edery said during the meeting. “The threat is severe and significant to the Jewish future of Jerusalem. We must act to strengthen the population of Israel’s capital for eternity,” Edry added.
Last week, Ynet published a new study revealing that the Jewish majority in Jerusalem was decreasing. Since 1967, the Jewish population in the capital grew by 140 percent, while the Arab population grew by 257 percent.
Out of approximately 720,000 Jerusalem residents, the Jews constitute 66 percent of the population. According to the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, if this trend continues, in 2020 the Jewish population will drop to 60 percent and the Arab population will reach 40 percent, and in 2035 it will reach 50 percent.
The institute's researchers said that the data presented a contradiction between the reality in Jerusalem and the declared government policy of maintaining the Jewish majority in Jerusalem since the city's re-unification.
What do they suggest? "We are raising a number of alternatives, such as expanding Jerusalem's border to the west, removing Arab neighborhoods from the city's municipal area and making Jerusalem more attractive for the young people and middle class," Dr Maya Hoshen, a researcher at the institute, told Ynet.