AJDS Statement on JNF Annual Dinner
On Thursday 15 October, the JNF Annual Dinner is being held, this year featuring two speakers: Nir Barkat, the Mayor of Jerusalem, via video link up, and Judy Feld Carr CM. While there is broad community support for the JNF within the Melbourne Jewish community, this kind of support is troubling. As Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat has been instrumental in pursuing the Judaizing of Jerusalem. While Jerusalem contains Israelis, Jews, Palestinians and others, Barkat has worked tirelessly to try to erase Palestinian presence within the city. He has ensured that East Jerusalem does not have the same support, finances, or regard as West Jerusalem. This can be seen in many different ways:
- The fact that in West Jerusalem there are 26 maternal and child health clinics, while in East Jerusalem there are six; 
- That Egged buses – the main bus company in Israel – do not go into East Jerusalem;
- That Jewish settlers regularly take over the homes of Palestinians in East Jerusalem neighbourhoods such as Silwan, forcing them out in the middle of the night;
- That the ‘City of ’, which is built on Palestinian land, has been given increasing support by the government in order to further the narrative of Jewish dominance of the whole city;
- That city planning has meant that at the beginning of the last school year, there was a shortage of 408 regular classrooms and 330 kindergarten classrooms in East Jerusalem, while at the same time Barkat has supported the construction of an IDF staff college in A-Tur and a yeshiva in Sheikh Jarrah, both Palestinian neighbourhoods.