Mayor Ron Huldai, Tel Aviv, Israel

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Testimonials for
Ron Huldai
Mayor of Tel Aviv (Israel)

The winner and runner-ups of World Mayor 2012 will be chosen based on the number of nominations in relation to the size of their cities and, more importantly, on the persuasiveness and conviction of testimonials received during this year's World Mayor Project. Below we publish a selection of comments received to date about WM nominee Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv, Israel.

Comment: Thanks, Ron Huldai. Tel Aviv is like a European capital - great arts and culture, great food, great nightlife. And its an incredibly tolerant, diverse and welcoming city. (By Fatima, Tel Aviv)

Comment: Through his work with the Tel Aviv-Yafo Foundation, in partnership with donors from around the world, Mayor Ron Huldai has generated momentum to the City elevating the City‚s quality of life through education, the arts, sports, social services and the environment. He has opened wonderful centres for the elderly and the children and has kept Tel Aviv beautiful. (By Geoffrey S, Outside Israel)

Comment: I got my colleague Ron Huldai to know as a pragmatic visionary and appreciate fully dedicated to the welfare of the city. In 14 years in term in office as mayor he has made Tel Aviv an energetic, vibrant and with youth bursting metropolis, which magically attracts international people and business by its openness and tolerance. (By Reinhard Paß, Lord Mayor of Essen, Germany)

Comment: Ron Huldai has transformed Tel Aviv into a business, technology, culture, fashion, tourism and sustainability hub, where everybody is welcomed with open arms. He has made TLV a city that is not just worth living but a delight and an accesible privilege for everybody -no discrimination allowed! (By Maor M, Tel Aviv)

Comment: Mayor Ron Huldai revitalized a run-down Middle Eastern city with a great beach into an ultra modern cosmopolitan and affluent city with its own flair where locals, tourists, students, golden age and start-up employees enjoy the rich art scenes while creating the next technologies the world is eager to adopt. Ron Hulda must be really good at sharing his vision while ingniting others' spirit, will and heart for so many contributed to achieve an extraordinary and amazing transformation in such a short time! And thank you for keeping the beach so clean. (By Brigitte L, Outside Israel)

Comment: Ron Huldai is a great fighter for peace and therefore he deserves to win the price. (By Elke, Outside Israel)

Comment: In spite of all the obstacles, boycotts, disinformation, threats, Mayor Huldai has created on of the most exciting cities on earth, not just for tourists but for residents. He has made Tel Aviv a hub for innovation, creativity in all spheres of life, in a safe and friendly environment. And it keeps getting better. The ambitions are huge, and much is done with little money. (By Andrea W, Tel Aviv)

Comment: Tel Aviv is the best city I have ever visited in my travels so much so that I want to live their one day I love tel aviv it is an amazing city the crowned Jewel of Israel. I love this city so much I am working on immigrating to this city. (By Justin W P, Outside Israel)

Comment: Tel Aviv is a modern and life-pulsing city in which everyone can find something for his taste .Specially young people -and there is the beach - But among the most important reasonsfor me is the consideration the city has given to the needs of mothers with little children , people with handycap ( there is access to public places everywhere ) and bycicles ( roads and public bycicle rental with a lot of rental points all over ) for short : I would love to live there. (By Rina L, Outside Israel)

Comment: Mayor Huldai has been instrumental in an amazing turnover the city experienced from a city on the verge of backrupcy, to being rated Triple A by Standard and Poors. The city has grown substantially during his term and has gained international recognition and popularity. (By Eytan S, Tel Aviv)

Comment: Mr Huldai is a great mayor. He developped Tel-Aviv in such a way that it is full of tourists from all around the world and also full of israelis from all the country that come to enjoy the city that never stops!!!! Please come and visit us! (By Berman J, Israel)

Comment: He is such a mensch! Very sympathetic and friendly. (By Erika B, Outside Israel)

Comment: The gentleman has revitalized the city of Tel-Aviv and brought it to be a world-class destination. (By Yariv N, Israel)

Comment: Tel Aviv is one of the most vibrant, well-run and beautiful cities in the world. Mayor Huldai meets the challenges of many worlds and cultures colliding but enhancing the fun and fizz of Tel Aviv!! (By Marsha M, Outside Israel)

Comment: He made Tel Aviv a modern international city. (By Gabriele B, Outside Israel)

Comment: I just like to be in Tel Aviv,it's a very clean City and with all the situation in Israel u still feel safe and comfortable.Thats why i think he does a great Job! (By Franzi, Outside Israel)

Comment: Ron Huldai is the most qualified mayoral candidate, if peace is what we seek in this world, he is our man for the job. (By Shelley, Outside Israel)

Comment: I used to work in Tel Aviv and I visit there quite often so that I can enjoy this fantastic city which is steadily improving with Mr Huldai's great work. (By Dana, Outside Israel)

Comment: He has done an outstanding job in making the city healthier, more beautiful, and more accessible to people of all classes and ages. Beautiful promenade along the beach, bike paths, and updating sewage lines and infrastructure that most mayors ignore. (By Hana W N, Tel Aviv)

Comment: Ron Huldai Mayor of Tel Aviv, has a proven record of meeting challenges pragmatically, and successfully, with due fairness. To minority groups. All people in Tel Aviv have benefitted from and feel safer due to improvements instigated by this honourable man. (By RDNS, Outside Israel)

Comment: I love the Tel Aviv startup scene! (By Ortal, Outside Israel)

Comment: The mayor transformed Tel Aviv into a vibrant cosmopolitan tolerant city with a 24/7 buzz. (By Michael B, Outside Israel)

Comment: The city became really international! It's the best place in Israel, and the world, for young people. (By Tamar S, Tel Aviv)

Comment: Best party town; lots of culture; improved the streets; walking trails, etc (By Eliana S, Outside Israel)

Comment: The accomplishments of Ron Huldai‚s administration have had a demonstrable impact on the city; most significantly, Mayor Huldai has eliminated the municipal deficit and has streamlined the city's workforce. Much emphasis has been placed on returning the public sphere to the residents, with creation of over 100 kilometers of bike trails, 14 kilometers of beachfront boardwalk and renovation of many of the city‚s historical assets. Huldai has increased allocation of budgetary funds to improve living conditions and infrastructure in the lower-income areas of the south. He has also made funding to build and improve schools, community centers and services a budgetary priority, paying special attention to lower-income neighborhoods. (By L S, Tel Aviv)

Comment: Leading love and peace and stays humble. Great man (By Farah S, Outside Israel)

Comment: We,JEWCIA team from the PHILIPPINES, is heartfully voting for Mayor Ron Huldai of the city of Tel Aviv, in fact,we are dreaming, that someday, Mayor Ron Huldai will heartfully grant our desire of inviting him to visit the PHILIPPINES for a historical "SISTERCITIES TWINNING ACCORD" conceptualized by our group,JEWCIA:Jewish Hebrew Center In Asia. (By Jerry P, Outside Israel)

Comment: Integrity, humble, honest and humanist (By Ary, Israel)

Comment: As someone who has worked throughout North America, Europe, and Australia, I can affirm that Tel Aviv is definitely the best city in the world, and Mayor Huldai works tirelessly to keep it so. (By P K, Israel)

Comment: Ron Huldai is an extraordinary politician, who does not shy away from confronting the Israeli government or Jewish religious leaders when he believes it to be in the interest of the people of Tel-Aviv-Jaffa. While other Israeli cities have become inward-looking, Tel Aviv, under his leadership, has become a city comparable with London, Paris, Berlin or New York. Tel Aviv is the only city in the Middle East which can be described as a world city. (By David & Shirley P, Tel Aviv)

Comment: Ron Hulda, Mayor of Tel Aviv has been an outstanding mayor and deserves this title of honor due to his achievements and merits. (By E M, Outside Israel)

Comment: Clean, close to the people, transparent, hard worker, lead by humanizing human, hold the principles that a leader is public servant. (By M Noor C, Israel)

Comment: Since Ron Huldai became mayor, Tel Aviv had a major renovation and construction boom. (By Kobi R, Tel Aviv)

Comment: No special words for him, but i believe him that he is the best man. (By Pitaya, Tel Aviv)

Comment: Really innovational, wide thinking mayor who is behind Tel Aviv's great name over the world. (By Roy A, Israel)

Comment: Mr Huldai created an open-mind, liberal and tolerant atmosphere towards minorities and a culture which connects art, business and living in a human way. Tel Aviv won the award of the "Most Gay Friendly City" in the near east from the LGBT-community! (By Simon H, Outside Israel)

Comment: In a very difficult environment, protects the unique vibe of his city and sees it grow and blossom (By Roi, Tel Aviv)

Comment: Mayor Huldai is fearless, plain spoken; a leader! (By Greg C, Tel Aviv)

Comment: Mayor Huldai is truly awsome.. he can change the bad culture without hurt others. Anybody should try become like him. (By Ferdi, Israel)

Comment: Ron Huldai has transformed the city of Tel Aviv into a technology powerhouse! (By Jeffrey H, Outside Israel)

Comment: He has made the city cleaner, greener, more fun and all around better. If every city could follow in Tel Aviv's footsteps than the world would be a much better place. (By G S, Outside Israel)

Comment: The mayor of Tel Aviv has done a fantastic job not only improving the lives of Tel Avivians, but also making it a welcome home for visitors from around the world. (By Matan, Outside Israel)

Comment: As a gay man, Israel is the only city in the Middle East I feel safe in. (By Nathan, C C, Tel Avivi)

Comment: Ron Huldai lifted Tel Aviv to the level of one of the world most attractive cities. (By Nadav E, Outside Israel)

Critical comments:
Comment: I am a resident of Tel-Aviv-Jaffa. However, Ron Huldai - one of your nominees - is not really my mayor. Mr. Huldai has been acting against the best interests of Tel-Aviv-Jaffa's less-priviliged neighborhoods for over 13 years now; mocking municipal democracy and the elected municipal council; and using police forces to violently suppress the Israeli Social-Justice Movement. Huldai broke Artical 2 and Artical 4 in YOUR code of ethics when in may 24 2012 published an add in a major Israeli newspapaer in demand from the israeli govermant to imperson or depord all of the african refugees from his city! I wish to vote AGAINST Huldai. (By Shai K, Tel Aviv)

Comment: My name is Daniel K, I'm a Software Engineer. I have lived in Tel-Aviv for decades and I have voted for Mr. Huldai in past mayoral elections. Unfortunately the last few years Mr. Huldai acted against our welfare in many ways.

Infrastructure has become a mess during the past few years. Huge expensive parking towers were built in the center of the crowded city, creating traffic problems and profiting city hall - during an acute housing shortage. Bus lanes were of course cancelled.

45 storyes high luxury towers were built 50m from shoreline, shadowing the beach. Literally shadowing the beach... These types of building were also built in small neighborhoods, surrounded by a single lane route, originally designated as "White City Heritage" by UNESCO. Heritage houses were demolished. Enormous traffic problems were created. Some of the towers are replacing children's schools and parks (Neve-Tzedek for example). None were built instead. We are at a huge shortage of these in the recent 5 years.

Beach inspectors, who are to aid lifeguards and assist the public, were ordered to detain dark-skinned foreigners, on grounds of illegal immigration - which time and again proved false. This is truly horrid. It is completely unlawful since Tel-Aviv does not have any authority for a municipal policing force. These types of action can only be carried by Israeli Police. (By Daniel K, Tel Aviv)

Comment: Mr. Ron Huldai is the mayor of both Tel Aviv and Jaffa and he takes pride in the fact that his city is an example of co existence between Jews and Arabs. As a resident of Jaffa I would like to bring to your attention the gap between his words and reality. While Mr. Huldai tends to mention that fact he has refused, twice, to add Arabic to the Logo of his city. In 2009 and last week he has declined the request to do so although both Hebrew and Arabic are the 2 formal languages of Israel. (By Mona N G, Tel Aviv)

Comment: Dear Judges of the contest: It is strongly objectional that our mayor, Ron Huldai, will receive any trophy, considering the serious resentment many citizens have towards him. Especially the ones who are actually living in the heart of the city and not in the newer suburbs like neighbourhoods.

So many basic things only got worse in Tel Aviv that it becomes hard counting them all. Here are just a few, but be sure, honorable judges, it's a general trend that sees city life not for all but only for the elite. In all major cities like Paris, New York and even more so Amsterdam you have got the will of the municipality to protect long-time citizens from the mere power of the real estate market. But not in Tel Aviv.

After visiting Istanbul I was much impressed by how clean it is, compared to Tel Aviv. But maybe part of the problem is that our mayor subcontracted the job, letting the very few get rich instead of allowing the guy that sweeps the sidewalks to enjoy a decent living ? (By Ilan G, Tel Aviv)

Comment: Mayor Huldai took a vivid city (Tel Aviv) where young people and culture had once thrived  and turned it into a city the caters mostly for the rich (only lucrative accommodations buildings are built and none for regular/ordinary working people) and for rich businesses (offices buildings). He also has done absolutely nothing, actually he has done even worse than nothing with handling the issue of asylum seekers (refugees mostly from Eritrea and Sudan). In short, he had made the gaps between parts of the city and the gap between the wealthy and the common residents wider than ever. (By Amnon G, Tel Aviv)

Comment: In addition to Mr. Huldai's many other shortcomings as Mayor, there is a small, everyday matter that needs also to be mentioned: the filthiness of the city of Tel Aviv. I just came back from a stroll in the neighborhood - it is seven o'clock in the evening and yet the packed-full garbage cans still remain on the sidewalks (since morning, when they should have been collected and emptied), as usual, stinking to high heaven and obstructing the passage of pedestrians. This is no single event – it is the almost daily practice. Visitors I had from abroad were flabbergasted at the dirt and neglect everywhere. It is like there were no municipality and no mayor in Tel Aviv. (By Hanna, Tel Aviv)

Comment: I am not a citizen of Tel Aviv, but my mother is a citizen and this city is very dear to me. I live 15 minutes from Tel Aviv in an agriculture village. I would like to express my strong feelings against Mayor Huldai candidacy in your contest. Here is my complaint: Tel Aviv municipality, headed by Mayor Huldai forcibly turning homeless, confiscating their equipment systematically, using the ‘Green Patrol’, a unit of 14 people who originally was meant to preserve and maintain the green areas of the city and to keep order and cleanliness in the parks and gardens of it. Huldai is using this Green Patrol to expel the homeless from one street to another. The same Green Patrol was used to confiscate the right of activists to demonstrate social protest. It is not human to abuse the weak; it is not democracy to prevent a legitimate protest. Therefore, Huldai can’t be a candidate in this contest. Thank you. (By Limor D, Israel)

Comment: My name is Tovy and I live in Tel Aviv Yaffo, Israel. To my understanding the Mayor Ron Huldai is a finalist in the World Mayor 2012. I want to ask you to reconsider this decision because, unfortunately, I don't think he deserves that and I will explain why using few examples.
I read the Code of Ethics you published- Ron Huldai is far from standing in that code. In the past time the meetings of the city council were open to the public to come and watch our local chosen government ‘in action’, but in the last weeks those meetings are closed to the public. So now we can't see and learn how decisions are making in our city. 
For example, one of the offers that was raised in the last city council meetings was to add to the city logo the name of Tel Aviv Yaffo in Arabic- an official language in Israel and more important - Tel Aviv is a mix town of Jewish and Arab residents. Huldai, not really explaining why not (the name of the city in the logo today is written in Hebrew and English), didn't approve the suggestion.

I can write and tell you about the small ‘militia’ that works in his behalf - city inspectors which now works to interrupter legal demonstrations, taking tents and personal possessions from demonstrators, homeless people and refugees. Acting in violence - pushing and shaving during a demonstration whith permit. Not only that- If I want to act my democratic right and demonstrate in my city I have to get not only the police permit to the demonstration but now I also have to get the permit of Ron Huldai - It has to be a subject that he approve of- That is not the way a democratic city work. I ask you to reconsider his nominee ship and not to include the Mayor of Tel Aviv Yaffo in the World Mayor Project. (By Tovy D, Tel Aviv)

Comment: Ron Huldai is a awful mayor how care only about those living in the north part of Tel Aviv, which leave the south part to fall apart. He rise some of the tax so he re-new Habima center which cost approximately 10000 NIS. and did not do anything in south Tel Aviv or Jaffa, where you can walk inside sewage. (By BDS, Tel Aviv)

World Mayor

The City Mayors Foundation, the international think tank for local government, organises the World Mayor Project and awards the World Mayor Prize. The Prize, which has been given since 2004, honours mayors with the vision, passion and skills to make their cities incredible places to live in, work in and visit. The World Mayor Project aims to show what outstanding mayors can achieve and raise their profiles nationally and internationally.

The organisers of the World Mayor Project are looking for city leaders who excel in qualities like: honesty, leadership and vision, management abilities and integrity, social and economic awareness, ability to provide security and to protect the environment as well as the will and ability to foster good relations between communities from different cultural, racial and social backgrounds. The winner receives the artistically acclaimed World Mayor trophy, while the two runner-ups are given the World Mayor Commendation.

Mayors wishing to be considered for the World Mayor Prize will be asked to sign up to the City Mayors' Code of Ethics

Nominations were accepted until the 17 May 2012. A shortlist of 25 nominees was published on 18 June. Voting took place until 20 October . The winner of the 2012 World Mayor Prize and other results of the World Mayor Project were announced on 8 January 2013.

Winners and runners-up
2004 to 2012

In 2004: Winner: Edi Rama (Tirana, Albania); Runner-up: Andrés Manuel López Obrador (Mexico City, Mexico); In third place: Walter Veltroni (Rome, Italy)
In 2005: Winner: Dora Bakoyannis (Athens, Greece); Runner-up: Hazel McCallion (Mississauga, Canada); In third place: Alvaro Arzú (Guatemala City, Guatemala)
In 2006: Winner: John So (Melbourne, Australia); Runner up: Job Cohen (Amsterdam, Netherland); In third place: Stephen Reed (Harrisburg, USA)
In 2008: Winner: Helen Zille (Cape Town, South Africa); Runner up: Elmar Ledergerber (Zurich, Switzerland); In third place: Leopoldo López (Chacao, Venezuela)
In 2010: Winner: Marcelo Ebrard (Mexico City, Mexico); Runner-up: Mick Cornett (Oklahoma City, USA); In third place: Domenico Lucano (Riace, Italy)
In 2012: Winner:
Iñaki Azkuna (Bilbao, Spain); Runner-up: Lisa Scaffidi (Perth, Australia); In third place: Joko Widodo (Surakarta, Indonesia)