Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is no extreme right-wing extremist. A generally non-ideological and secular Jew who served in the paratroopers, he was a successful high-tech venture capitalist before entering politics. Barkat’s career has, to date, been solely centered on the city of
In his years on the city council and now as mayor, Barkat’s focus has been on development and improved services but he also understands that the city’s future depends on it remaining united. If it is once again divided, as it was during
These are points that Barkat has been making to the press and the public during a visit this week to
“For us, it’s lousy timing,” said a spokesman for the embassy, Jonathan Peled. He tried to put things in perspective, comparing Mr. Barkat to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty of
It’s true that Barkat is not a member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government — or even of one of the parties that forms his coalition — and is not bound to follow its lead nor empowered to represent it. But neither is he an insignificant or powerless functionary who deserves to be ignored or mocked. Moreover, his position opposing both
It’s easy to understand the embassy’s desire to downplay any differences between
But people who, like Peled, are tasked with the difficult job of selling
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