Adir Schwarz

A vibrant and tolerant Jerusalem is at risk. Together we can ensure its future.

credit: Hitorerut In Jerusalem
credit: Hitorerut In Jerusalem

I love Jerusalem. I love the way the sun rises over its hills. I love the sounds of the Shuk on a Friday morning. I love the calm that descends over it on Shabbat. I love Jerusalem passionately and feverishly; I am a zealot for my city. I began my journey of service to this city at the age of 16 when I founded the Jerusalem Neighborhood Soccer League for Girls, which is now the largest women’s sports league in Israel. This league brings together women from all different backgrounds: Arab, Jewish, religious, and secular. It is a shining example of the diversity of Jerusalem and of the mosaic that is Israeli society.

Jerusalem’s strength is its diversity. It is what has allowed this city to grow, and it is what has helped its citizens prosper. However, this city’s diversity and its economically active public are under threat. For the last five years, the sectarian coalition on the city council has worked to undermine the Zionist and productive public of Jerusalem. The fringe coalition has campaigned for the last five years  to close secular and religious public schools and kindergartens throughout the city. They have worked to force businesses to close on Shabbat, despite the needs and will of their customers. They have also worked to harm Jerusalem’s LGBTQ+ community by attempting to defund the Jerusalem Open House. These steps have exacerbated a trend of negative migration from Jerusalem. Young professionals and families are leaving  Jerusalem at a faster rate than ever, feeling that they do not have a future in this city. However, hope is not lost, and there is work to be done. There is a movement of Jerusalemites who have been working for fifteen years to strengthen this city and its Zionist and liberal public.

Hitorerut In Jerusalem is a local political and social action movement whose goal is to strengthen Jerusalem’s Zionist, productive public. We want to ensure that young people, both secular and religious, can stay in Jerusalem and continue to contribute to our wonderful city. We have been working for this on the city council and outside of it, ensuring that Jerusalem remains a diverse and welcoming city. We have worked to protect our public, making Jerusalem a better city for all its inhabitants. We stopped the closing of kindergartens in several neighborhoods such as Rasko, Pisgat Ze’ev, and Malcha. We also stopped the opening of an extremist yeshiva in Jerusalem’s Baqa neighborhood, which would have made the area unwelcoming for the families already living there. Additionally, we have worked to prevent public corruption and ensure that Jerusalem’s citizens are receiving the best possible services.

Hitorerut is also working to ensure that every Jerusalemite has the freedom to choose how they spend their Shabbat. This is why last weekend we launched a first-of-its-kind rideshare program that allows those residents who don’t have their own vehicles to travel within the city on Friday evening and to travel to the beach on Shabbat during the day. Our goal is to allow each citizen the freedom to choose how they spend their Shabbat while still preserving Shabbat’s unique place within our society.

The first minibus stops to pick up passengers in Jerusalem 12/08/2023. Credit: Shaked Lahis

On the 31st of October, we have the opportunity to write a new chapter in Jerusalem’s history. Hundreds of thousands of Jerusalem’s residents will go to the polls and elect a mayor and city council. This election is critical in ensuring that Jerusalem remains a tolerant and vibrant city that welcomes young professionals and students, encouraging them to stay and contribute to our city. Therefore, I urge all Jerusalemites who want to see a welcoming and dynamic city to go to the polls on October 31st and cast their vote for the Hitorerut list.

About the Author
Adir Schwarz is the head of Hitorerut In Jerusalem and Leader of the Opposition on the Jerusalem City Council. He has been a social and political activist in Jerusalem since he was sixteen. In the Army he served as a paratrooper in Operation "Protective Edge". He graduated from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem with a BA in Political Science and Business Management and an MA in Public Policy. He is married to Shira and loves football almost as much as her.
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