As of Monday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is the heir of an odd legacy: The last two people who preceded him in office are both convicted felons.
Barkat said Monday that he understands why. “It was very sad to hear how the city's administration was corrupted in the past, but it is good that the case was decided by competent judges,” Barkat said.
On Monday, a Tel Aviv court convicted both Ehud Olmert and Uri Lupolianski – both former Jerusalem mayors - in connection with the infamous Holyland corruption scandal. According to Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rosen, Hundreds of thousands of shekels were transferred to public leaders. The dirty money was given in order to advance the business of the people who gave the money,” which was to build the Holyland apartment project, which violated dozens of zoning and construction laws.
Both Olmert and Lupolianski, among others, were convicted of taking bribes to sign off on permits for construction of the project.
Barkat, who took office in 2008, recalled how appalled he was at the condition of public administration in the city – with almost everything done secretively and “under the radar.” Today, he said, there is full transparency in everything the municipality does; all meetings are open to the public and to the media, unlike in the past. “The best antidote to corruption is sunshine, along with the personal example of openness I am trying to set,” Barkat said.
“I want to congratulate the workers of the Jerusalem municipality for their hard and loyal work,” Barkat said. “I will continue to work for honesty, transparency, and responsibility in the management of the city,” he added.