U.S. Jews hear from Jerusalem’s mayor-elect


Jerusalem’s mayor-elect, Nir Barkat, gave his first talk to a major American audience since he won the mayorship of Israel’s capital last week.

Barkat, an Israeli entrepreneur and businessman, is a noted philanthropist who has spent many of his charity dollars on improving education and creating jobs in Israel.

According to Startup Jerusalem:

  • Barkat served on the board of Snunit, which he an organization advancing the use of computers within the Jerusalem elementary school system.
  • He was the driving force behind the creation of the Holistic Project – the creation of new local leadership and community program development in Jerusalem neighborhoods.
  • Nir was one of the founding members of the Israel Venture Network (IVN), which was founded in the spring of 2001 by a group of American and Israeli high tech magnates. The mission of this committed group is to further a pluralistic and harmonious society in Israel through the deployment of innovative and venture-based strategies.

During his speech Monday, which was given at a plenary that also featured Israeli President Shimon Peres and Samuel Bronfman Foundation scion Adam Bronfman, Barkat gave a taste of why social service advocates are behind him when he described the Israel he wants to see:

“We must not accept the fact that Jerusalem is the poorest city in the country. We must work hard to make it rich in industry, culture and jobs. It must be built from the bottom up, with a new approach job creation, expansion of tourism, potential and human resource potential. Jerusalem must stand on its own two feet, not just for the tens of thousands tourists that visit it, but for those who want to find good jobs and affordable education.”

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