In addition to being Israel’s largest city, with a greater population than Tel Aviv and Haifa combined, Jerusalem has the country’s largest foreign national population and attracts millions of tourists and students every year which puts a heavy strain on the city’s finances
Zev Zer, chairman of Israeli Shortcut which assists foreign nationals living in Israel, endorses yesterday and today’s strike of Jerusalem municipality services and says they are justified. Mr. Zer joined Mayor Nir Barkat’s demonstration seeking more funds for the city.
He says that the Jerusalem municipality has continually asked the Financial Minister to increase its yearly budget to Jerusalem, taking in consideration the large number of the city’s citizens and the masses of tourists who visit the city, but so far the request has been ignored.
The large and increasing numbers of visitors, students and foreign residents living in the capital require tremendous infrastructure and neighborhood development and put a tremendous strain on the city’s finances. The city, however, is one of the poorest in Israel due to its large child population and large civil service population. Enlarged funding by the Treasury is necessary to improve the residents’ quality of life, to absorb new residents and make the city more attractive to tourists.
Zev Zer says that if the Treasury has ignored the financial straits of its capital city until now, he hopes that the desperate justified strike initiated by the city will have the effect of waking it up and realizing that the time has come for a new re-alignment of priorities.