Jerusalem Mayor: It's a sad day for Jerusalem

Jerusalem municipal workers protest Finance Ministry refusal to transfer budget.

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Hezki Baruch,

Nir Barkat
Nir Barkat
Hezki Baruch

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat participated on Sunday morning in a municipal workers' demonstration protesting the Finance Ministry's reported refusal to transfer funds to the Jerusalem municipality.

Like other municipalities, the Jerusalem municipality receives government funding, and is supposed to receive an additional "capital city" grant which has not yet been transferred.

"This is a sad day for Jerusalem," Barkat said. "We're celebrating fifty years of a united Jerusalem, and we have to deal with our budget. It's a shameful embarrassment that while the entire world is looking at Jerusalem, we need to do everything to keep her afloat.

"I will not give up. Jerusalem will not be a trailing fox; she will be a lion who leads. During the past two years, I have felt as if I am speaking to a wall.

"Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) has not met with me even once. I call on him to put aside his personal issues, if he has any. We have no other government, but we must remember that we have no other Jerusalem."

The Finance Ministry on the weekend said the complaints of Jerusalem's municipality were "puzzling."

"In 2016, we gave half a billion NIS to the city of Jerusalem, and this year, we have added an additional 5% to the budget," said a Finance Ministry spokesman. "We will not double this amount, no matter how much the mayor begs. This special aid budget will remain at 525 million NIS, as outlined in the government-approved budget. In addition, Jerusalem will receive a 'capital city grant' of 320 million NIS."