JERUSALEM (AP) — Jerusalem's mayor presides over a city divided between Arab and Jew, religious and secular, rich and poor, and claimed as a capital by both Israelis and Palestinians.
But Nir Barkat, who is running for reelection, says Jerusalem is thriving. And with peace negotiators discussing its potential future partition, Barkat insists Jerusalem must remain united. Drawing on the city's ancient history, Barkat said Jerusalem has always been at its best when it allowed all who came to worship to feel a sense of belonging.
The city's 800,000 residents are split almost evenly among secular and modern Orthodox residents, ultra-Orthodox Jews and Muslim Palestinians. The Arab population lives almost entirely in east Jerusalem, the sector captured by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians as their capital. East Jerusalem also is home to key Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites.