A: If somebody wants to make this an issue that gets in the way, that's his problem. Never in the discussions between Israelis and Palestinians was continued building for all residents of Jerusalem an obstacle. It's not a condition that I will accept. And it's not a condition that the people of Jerusalem will accept nor the public opinion of Israel. Jerusalem will not freeze. Nobody wants to be provocative. Local government has a fiduciary duty to give service to the people. If you don't enable people to build on the west side, they leave. Negative migration of Jerusalem is one of the biggest problems of Jews in Jerusalem. And if you don't plan and enable building for Arabs, they build illegally.
Q: Jerusalem is becoming less Jewish as the city's Jewish population, as an overall percentage, drops. Why is that happening, and if Jewish growth is falling, why do you need so much new Jewish housing?
A: The biggest problem in Jerusalem is the fact that the general public, the Zionist public, left for a few reasons. They left, No. 1, because of jobs. No. 2, because of the price of housing, because there is not enough housing. Unfortunately, the solution the Arabs [found] to that problem was to build illegally. Jews didn't build illegally and there's a shortfall of housing, and prices went up.
In order to maintain reasonable prices of housing, we must bring about 3,000 new apartments to the Jewish population and 1,000 new apartments for the Arab population a year.
Q: The recent bribery and corruption scandal over the Holyland real estate project has implicated several government officials, including two former Jerusalem mayors. Are systemic reforms needed to prevent corruption?
A: Like everyone else, [I think] it's a hard time for the city of Jerusalem. It's shameful to look at what has happened. There is no substitute for honest brokers.
Q: So it all boils down to the integrity of the mayor?
A: [It involves] officials, public servants, the professional team. They have to be honest. Whatever [anti-corruption] system you put on, if [those involved] are not honest, then eventually you've done nothing. What I've brought from the first day is full transparency. We have 30 committees. All but one are open to the public. They were never open [before.] So you didn't know what you didn't know. By bringing transparency, you dramatically decrease the chances of [corruption.]
Q: People are beginning to view you as more political and ideological. Are you?
A: I'm an independent. My views are very clear. I put goals and plans in place before the election and I'm sticking to my plan. My goal and role is to serve all residents of the city. I'm not doing this for anything but the future of the city.