Speaking at the opening the 2016 Yesha Conference Monday morning, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat slammed limitations on building in the capital some have characterized as a partial building freeze, demanding the government lift the restrictions on construction.
“We cannot give in to the terrorists, they must pay a price,” said Barkat. “As far as construction in Jerusalem is concerned, we have a [building] program that properly addresses the needs of both the haredi community and Muslim population, just as any other city in the world would do.”
Barkat also insisted that residents of the capital be able to live in any part of the city they choose.
“We must let residents purchase homes in any place they wish.”
“I hear that there is a [building] ‘freeze’ in Jerusalem. Don’t let them scare you. Construction in Jerusalem must never be stopped for any reason at all.”
“We must give building permits. Let [people] build and don’t stop the permits or [just] accept them after terror attacks.”
The mayor emphasized that restrictions on building in Jerusalem did not originate in city hall, but were part of the government’s policy. He also offered a novel suggestion, transferring authority over construction from the government to the municipality of Jerusalem.
“We aren’t stopping any construction. I suggest the responsibility for construction be moved from the government to the City of Jerusalem.”
Barkat’s jabs follow speculation that the mayor, who has joined the Likud party, may be eyeing control of the party.