Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office on Sunday evening clarified that the state of Israel invests heavily in Jerusalem, after the mayor of the capital, Nir Barkat, sent a strongly-worded letter urging Netanyahu to take action and stop “ignoring Jerusalem’s needs”.
"The government is investing billions in the development of Jerusalem, in a scope and pace that never existed before. In 2014 the state provided direct aid to the Jerusalem Municipality in the amount of approximately 420 million shekels. Only last August, the city was allocated assistance totaling 450 million shekels," the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
"This is in addition to the huge investment in the development of the railway infrastructure and roads and other tools and benefits enjoyed by the city as part of government policy to develop Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The mayor and the city of Jerusalem have a sympathetic ear in the Prime Minister's Office which is backed by plans and budgets, so this letter is puzzling," added the statement.
In his letter, Barkat urged Netanyahu to immediately and personally get involved in the situation, warning, "The end has come for public words and warnings about the importance and status of Jerusalem. It is time for action. Continuing to ignore Jerusalem's needs will be a victory for terror."
He cited three specific ways to help Jerusalem:
Continuing to reduce the gaps between Jerusalem and the [other members of the] Forum of the 15 strongest cities by providing an additional 400 million shekels ($103 million US) in the 2016 budget.
Approving an aid package to Jerusalem businesses that have been harmed by the wave of terror since Operation Protective Edge.
Implementing the government's decision from Jerusalem Day, known as "Jerusalem 2000," including a five-year-plan to develop the city's economy.