Barkat Pledges to Strengthen Religious-Zionist Schools in J'lem
Opening a new religious Zionist elementary school Jerusalem, Mayor Nir Barkat said Tuesday he would work to strengthen religious Zionist education in the city.
Along with former MK Zevulun Orlev (Bayit Yehudi), Barkat, who is hoping to be reelected in this month's mayoral vote, was opening the Ben Zion Namat School in the city's Givat Mordechai neighborhood - which has a growing young religious Zionist population.
"After years of limited numbers of places in religious Zionist elementary schools," Barkat told a crowd, "today we see you are growing and flourishing." He added "we will continue to strengthen religious Zionist education in Jerusalem, with the opening of quality educational institutions."
The new Ben Zion Namat Elementary school has three first grade classes, and is named after Namat, a former director of the city's Education Authority.
Former Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Head, Zevulun Orlev praised Barkat saying that Jerusalem was blessed to have a leader with vision and the ability to implement ideas.
He said the religious Zionist community had deep appreciation for the last five years, adding "and with G-d's help the next five years as well."
Nir Barkat is locked in a tight race with Moshe Lion ahead of the October 22 ballot to decide the city's next mayor.
Despite a poll by Maariv last month, giving Barkat a two thirds lead over Lion, the margins now appear much closer as many of Israel's political parties and influential personalities have made known their chosen candidates.
Israel's Labor and Meretz parties have backed Barkat for a second term, with the Haredi parties, along with Likud Beiteinu endorsing Lion. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has opted not to support his party's official candidate Lion, instead voicing support for Barkat - who was also endorsed by the wife of former Sephardic chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu Z'tz'l.
Meanwhile MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) recently wrote a letter of support for Lion, saying he would know "how to run the city properly and take it forward.”