Despite the Muslim violence in some parts of his city, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat struck an optimistic note to visiting parliamentarians Tuesday, noting the Israeli capital's remarkable achievements in terms of economic growth, tourism and crime-fighting.
Reiterating his goal of 10 million tourists visiting the holy city annually, Barkat noted to dozens of pro-Israel MPs from around the world that Jerusalem has already come a long way - up to more than four million visitors each year from less than two million a decade ago.
Speaking at the capital's Mamilla Hotel, he urged the visitors to look beyond negative media headlines. "Many people see too much CNN, too much television," he said.
Even with the violence of the past two weeks, Jerusalem is in fact "one of the safest cities in the world," with murder raters far lower than most major western cities, Barkat pointed out.
Jerusalem's economy is growing at a rate of 10% per year, and was recently named as one of the top-five emerging startup technology hubs in the world, as well as one of the top-ten most attractive cities for tourists.
The group was sponsored by the Israel Allies Foundation, which is set to hold its annual Jerusalem Chairman’s Conference from September 29th-October 1st.
Sponsored by the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), the conference will be attended by 22 parliamentarians from 18 countries worldwide, as well as a number of distinguished guests from Israel.