Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Secular City Hall- Meet Nir Barkat

The gamble that the Arab voters would swing the election did not work. Jerusalem's new-look City Hall will be headed by Nir Barkat, a nerdish techno-innovator and tycoon who drifted right during the campaign and came out pro-settlements.
This photo is from his FaceBook page. (He joined last summer, and his page has more than 800 fans.)

Here's Mayor Barkat's rather glowing resume, according to the Israel Project.

Nir Barkat, born in Israel in 1959, spent his entire childhood and adult life in Jerusalem. Serving six years in the IDF, as a member of the paratrooper’s brigade, Nir completed his service with the rank of Major.
Nir received his Bachelor's degree in computer science (BSC), and completed extensive studies towards an MA in business administration at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
In 1988, Nir Barkat founded the BRM Group. BRM was one of the first entities worldwide to develop anti-virus software. As CEO, he initiated joint ventures with U.S. companies. BRM later became a technological incubator, investing in companies such as BackWeb and Checkpoint Software. Nir served as chairman of Checkpoint for its first four years.
At the beginning of 2000, Nir was a founding partner of BRM Capital, a $150 million Venture Capital Fund which focuses on software and communication infrastructures, specializing in investments in Israeli related companies and helping them become global leaders in their field.
Prior to his decision to dedicate himself to the city of Jerusalem full time, Nir Barkat became involved in the promotion and introduction of innovative educational and community focused projects.

• Nir supports and serves on the Board of Snunit, an organization advancing the use of computers within the Jerusalem elementary school system.
• He was the driving force behind the creation of the Holistic Project - the creation of new local leadership and community program development in Jerusalem neighborhoods.
• Nir was one of the founding members of the Israel Venture Network (IVN), which was founded in the spring of 2001 by a group of American and Israeli high tech magnates. The mission of this committed group is to further a pluralistic and harmonious society in Israel through the deployment of innovative and venture-based strategies.

In January 2003, Nir resigned from all of his business responsibilities and participated in the Jerusalem municipal elections for Mayor. Nir served as a full-time Jerusalem municipal councilmember, and was involved with numerous entrepreneurial projects in the city.
In addition to being the Founder and Vice-Chairman of StartUp Jerusalem, Nir is also the Founder and Chairman of "New Spirit," a non-profit helping to promote the students in Jerusalem.
Nir is married to Beverly, and is father of three daughters.

Headlines in Haaretz newspaper said Barkat scorned municipal waste and announced that he was prepared to dismantle the Calatrave "bridge of discord" and disrupt the light railway system which has become a symbol of bad planning, over-spending. Izzy doubts he'll go through with wholescale disuption, but was just playing the rightwing crowd for victory cheers.

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