Lopoliansky, Uri

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LOPOLIANSKY, URI (1951– ), first *ḥaredi mayor of Jerusalem. Lopoliansky was born in Haifa. He served in the idf as a medic, worked as a teacher, and studied public administration. In 1976 he established Yad Sarah – a nonprofit association that lends medical equipment to the disabled and ailing – and serves as its chairman. The association operates with 6,000 volunteers in 96 branches throughout Israel. For this project he won many prizes and awards, including the Israel Prize.

Lopoliansky was first elected as a member of the Jerusalem Municipal Council in 1989. He was deputy mayor of Jerusalem in 1993–2003 under Ehud *Olmert, and head of the Planning and Construction Department in the municipality. As deputy mayor he supported Olmert's policy of expanding the boundaries of the city eastwards, in order to maintain the demographic balance in favor of the Jewish population. After Olmert was reelected to the Knesset in January 2003 Lopoliansky became acting mayor, until the new municipal elections that were held in June. In this period he canceled the traditional reception held annually on Independence Day in front of the Tower of David Museum, which used to be attended by diplomats, Arab mukhtars, clergy, idf officers, and citizens, though he attended other Independence Day celebrations. After being elected mayor of Jerusalem, beating the secular independent candidate Nir Barkat thanks to numerous secular votes that he received, he established a haredi-right-wing coalition, even though he tried to bring Shinui and Meretz into his coalition but failed. He objected to opening the Temple Mount to prayer for Jews for halakhic reasons and supported surrounding Jerusalem with a barrier that will separate the city from the surrounding Arab areas, for security reasons. At the same time he favored improving the services given to the Arab inhabitants of the city. Lopoliansky walked a tightrope on issues to which he had objections in principle, such as meetings with Reform leaders, or the holding of gay processions in the city (Lopoliansky condemned the event, but did not prevent it). At the same time he went out of his way to discourage violent ḥaredi protests.

Lopoliansky was also a member of the national Council for Planning and Construction, and a member of the National Center for the Development of Holy Sites.

[Susan Hattis Rolef (2nd ed.)]