The Yerushalmim party is comprised of secular, traditional and orthodox residents. Rachel Azaria, the leader of the party, has been a member of Jerusalem's city council for the past five years. Yerushalmim works to advance education, strengthen neighborhoods, and maintain religious freedom in Jerusalem.
Yerushalmim was founded in 2008 by activists and residents - people who care about the city of Jerusalem. The aim was to create a party representing Jerusalem residents and real issues that affect their daily lives. In 2008 the party ran for the city council, together with Hitorerut (Wake Up Jerusalem). Together, the list received approximately 17,000 votes translating into two seats. For the last five years, Rachel Azaria has been Yerushalmim's representative on the city council.
Initially, Yerushalmim was part of Mayor Barkat's coalition, and Rachel received the community council portfolio and the newly-formed early childhood education portfolio. In this capacity, Rachel proposed the following initiatives:
- The 11th month: - extending the pre-school year to include July
- Free education from age 3 and subsidized afternoon programs - this proposal was later adopted by the Trajtenberg Committee
During the social justice protests in the summer of 2011, Yerushalmim members played a key role in the Jerusalem tent protests, working with other social and political organizations to organize activities and further protests. Yerushalmim members also led the Stroller Protests, calling upon the government to provide adequate conditions for raising children in Israel. As a Jerusalem council member, Rachel testified before the Trajtenberg Committee, significantly contributing towards their decision to propose free, state-provided education from age 3 up, and to reform the afternoon programs. In January 2013, moments before these reforms were scheduled to take effect in Jerusalem, it was announced that employment terms for both kindergarten teachers and their aides were being changed - for the worse. The Yerushalmim party united parents and employees, together with Koach La'Ovdim. The afternoon programs went on strike, and eventually the teachers' terms of employment were restored.
Yerushalmim has also played an active role in shaping the public sphere, by campaigning against the exclusion of women. During the election campaign in 2008, Cnaan, the company in charge of advertising on buses, refused to post images of Rachel Azaria and the reason they gave was because she is a woman. The party petitioned the Supreme Court and won. This was only one battle but the war was far from over. Since then Yerushalmim, together with HaTnua HaYerushalmit, has fought in the Supreme court against the Ministry of Transportation to force the company in charge of advertising to allow women's pictures on buses in Jerusalem. In 2012 this bore fruit, and the court forbade the exclusion of women in Jerusalem's public sphere. In addition, during Sukkot of 2010 and 2011, Yerushalmim petitioned the Supreme Court on the matter of segregated sidewalks in Mea Shearim. The following year, the sidewalks were no longer segregated during the holiday.
The municipal elections will take place on October 22, 2013. Yerushalmim hopes to earn the confidence and trust of even more residents, and obtain additional seats on the City Council in order to continue serving the pluralistic communities and residents of Jerusalem.
Read more about the candidates here.