Participating in Deciding Jerusalem’s Future

A crucially important week for Jerusalem’s future has now started.

There are two different options as to how Jerusalem residents will wake up on Wednesday morning, the day after the elections. Either the great majority of residents will be happy and relieved, or the great majority of residents will be sad and disappointed.

When we look at polls and at job approval ratings, it becomes clear that Nir Barkat has a huge lead in support from Jerusalem residents. Actually, even those who oppose him don’t oppose him strongly, since he led the city in a way that benefited all residents. No one hates him. No one really wants him gone. There is simply a small population that would rather have someone exclusively serving their interest in the Mayor’s office.


If this is the case, if the majority wants Barkat in office and if the minority doesn’t even really oppose him strongly, then how can it be that, in a democracy, his job is really at risk?

The answer is simple: passivity.

Those who support Moshe Leon know how to get the vote out, even if they are smaller in numbers and not so angry at Barkat. The supporters of Nir Barkat sometimes find excuses not to go vote. All of those excuses are good excuses: work, children, important events, and more. However, lets make things clear: the future of Jerusalem is at stake! And the question is whether we will invest 20 minutes in ensuring Jerusalem continues to flourish or if we will stay passive and let our opponents take Jerusalem from us.

For over 2000 years, we prayed for Jerusalem. I, myself, as someone who was born outside of Israel and moved here only 5 years ago, dreamed for many years of moving to Jerusalem. This city is so special, its history so unique, its place in our hearts so powerful. Today, we have the opportunity not only to live here, but also to vote in the city’s elections and to take part in deciding its future!

Is this city not important enough for us to invest 20 minutes to go vote and secure its continuing development?  As people who have sacrificed so much in order to come live here in Jerusalem, how can we even consider not going out to vote when so much is at stake?

The future of Jerusalem is literally in our hands. In 2003, when only 46% of Jewish residents came out to vote, Nir Barkat lost the election. In 2008, when 54% voted, Nir Barkat won the election. The polls in this election say exactly the same thing: it is all about voter turnout! It is not surprising that an anonymous page from some of our opponents came out encouraging people not to vote, even if it is a ridiculous concept! Our opponents know that if we use our right to vote, they have no chance.

If we all go out to vote, we will get 5 more years of Jerusalem flourishing led by the idealism of Mayor Nir Barkat. If not, we will get 5 years of shady deals and Jerusalem will go back to what it unfortunately was once 5 years ago, when everyone believed that it was a story of the past and not a hope for the future. It is all in our hands.

This Tuesday, October 22nd, go out and vote. Call your friends and make sure they go vote. Make sure every Jerusalemite knows of the importance of this day.

Then, when we wake up on Wednesday morning, we will wake up to a Jerusalem full of joy and not to a disappointed Jerusalem.




Dan Illouz is the manager of the French campaign for Nir Barkat. The views expressed in this article represent only his own views.  

About the Author
Dan Illouz is a member of the Jerusalem City Council with the Hitorerut movement.