Mayor Nir Barkat
Mayor Nir Barkat
Larry Levanti/Courtesy Woodrow Wilson School

Speaking in Dodds Auditorium Nov. 8, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat likened his work to that of any businessman. A champion of economic development, he said “it’s well-known that when people have more to lose, there is less violence.”

“Today I feel the city is managed much more professionally than politically,” said Barkat, who founded an antivirus software company in 1988 and went on to work as a venture capitalist. He was elected mayor in 2008.

Barkat developed business models to stimulate growth in Jerusalem with the help of Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter ’69. One goal is to increase tourism from 2 million to 10 million visitors a year, which he said would equate to 140,000 new jobs.

He rejected proposals to divide the city, saying he could think of no example of a divided city that ever functioned well. “In the technology world, we call it ‘dead on arrival,’” he said.