Barkat receives key to city
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Barkat steps into Lupolianski's shoes
Jerusalem's new mayor takes office from predecessor, who says 'city is in fine shape, with economy, education flourishing'; Barkat promises to maintain status quo between religious, secular populations

Nir Barkat, the new mayor of Jerusalem, assumed his position on Wednesday amid commendations from his predecessor, Uri Lupolianski. The outgoing mayor congratulated Barkat but also stressed his own achievements. "The city is in fine shape," Lupolianski said.


The first ultra-Orthodox mayor of Jerusalem recounted the public fears evident after his election, which he claimed were all disproved.


"When I was chosen there were people who voiced dark predictions about my chances to maintain the status quo and the calm in the city, and with help from the lord they were all proved wrong," he said.


"The past six years have been peaceful and I have no doubts that you will be able to maintain this peace," he told his successor.


"Since I entered this position the economy has flourished. From a city with a deficit budget we have become balanced and strong, and there has also been an increase in construction and an improvement in education. I wish I had these figures when I came into office."


Barkat thanked his predecessor and the public "for the chance to serve as mayor of the most important city in the world, the capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish people – Jerusalem."


He added, "In the recent election we fought for our home. Those who decided to bring back hope and take responsibility, for whom Jerusalem is not just a city but a home, decided not to give up and to fight for Jerusalem. Jerusalem's state is not preordained by fate."


Barkat said his parents had come to Jerusalem because they saw in it a successful city. "I plan to bring back this city's attractiveness," he said.


The new mayor added that he would not disturb the delicate balance between secular and ultra-Orthodox residents. "I will maintain the religious status quo in Jerusalem, as well as the respect for all of the city's residents," he said firmly.


פרסום ראשון: 12.03.08, 13:34
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