A secular, hardline millionaire has won a decisive victory for mayor of Jerusalem, ending 5 years of ultra-Orthodox rule, the Los Angeles Times reports. Nir Barkat has promised to transform the impoverished capital city by boosting tourism and tech ventures. He has also demanded more homes for Jews in East Jerusalem, an area dominated by Arabs who would like to see it become the capital of a Palestinian state.
Jerusalem's slide into poverty and its huge ultra-Orthodox population, most of whom don't work, have made its mayoralty a less-than-appealing prize for many Israeli politicians. None of the country's major parties put up a candidate, despite a national election in just three months. Most Arab voters once again boycotted the election, seeing it as a de facto recognition of Israel's sovereignty over the entire holy city.