Nir Barkat served as mayor of Jerusalem in the years 2008-2018.
On November 11, 2008, Nir Barkat was elected the 9th Mayor of Jerusalem, the eternal undivided capital of the Jewish people. Since assuming office on December 2, 2008, Mayor Barkat has inspired thousands of Jerusalemites with his relentless work to turn Israel's poorest city into one rich in culture, youth, tourism, education, and sustainable economic development. This work, coupled with his message of respect and pluralism for all residents of Jerusalem, all served as the basis for his re-election for a second term in 2013.
For the five years preceding his election to Mayor, Nir Barkat served as the leader of the opposition in Jerusalem's City Council, learning the ins and outs of municipal politics and processes. In his term as City Councilman, Barkat set out on a path of active civic engagement and reform beyond the city council to address education, negative migration of Jerusalem's young adults, and the need for lasting economic development.
Since assuming office, members of the City Council have formed a wide, diverse coalition behind Mayor Barkat, a testament to his leadership and vision.
Mayor Barkat's dedication to education prompted him to retain the city's Education Portfolio. His commitment to education reform began far before his mayoral appointment, when he and his wife Beverly co-founded The Snunit Center for the Advancement of Web Based Learning in 1999. Since assuming office, education reform has remained one of the core tenets of his work as Mayor, and his overhaul of the education system has completely reversed the declining enrollment figures he inherited when he assumed the post.
Mayor Barkat's marked successes in his public service are rooted in his previous work as a tech entrepreneur. In 1988, Mayor Barkat co‐founded BRM Technologies, a pioneering software house and later venture capital firm that developed and marketed ground‐breaking anti‐virus software now standard on personal computers throughout the world. He has brought his business acumen and entrepreneurial approach to City Hall, fostering a municipal culture dedicated to constant innovation and swift execution.
Mayor Barkat has increased the municipal budget by an average of 10% each year in office, spurring dramatic growth in employment, investment in infrastructure, and cultural development. Accordingly, Jerusalem has become a national leader in resident satisfaction, youth engagement, and Zionist sector enlistment in the IDF. Mayor Barkat has already begun to develop plans for large scale public‐private‐partnerships, and has set a goal of ten million tourists annually by 2020.
Mayor Barkat received the rank of Major during his six years of service in the Israel Defense Forces. During his time as a paratrooper, he led soldiers inside enemy territory as a company commander during the First Lebanon War. Following his army service, Mayor Barkat returned to Jerusalem where he attended the Hebrew University and earned a degree in computer science. He is married to artist Beverly Barkat, with whom he has three daughters.