Nir Barkat is an entrepreneur, former Mayor of
Jerusalem, Minister of Economy and Industry, and
a Member of the Knesset from the Likud party.
Barkat holds a BA in computer science from the
Hebrew University of Jerusalem. While in
university, Barkat, together with several friends,
created one of the world’s first antivirus
technologies and went on to establish BRM, a
leading Israeli investment fund. Barkat is a founder and the first chairman of the board of
CheckPoint Technologies, an Israeli cyber security giant.
In 2001, he began his philanthropic activity with several educational and social ventures
focused on web-based education and high-tech entrepreneurship. Ventures founded by
Barkat include the Snunit Center for the Advancement of Web-Based Learning, which
integrates technology into education, and IVN (the Israel Venture Network) for nurturing
social businesses. Along with students from Jerusalem, he founded New Spirit, which
focuses on inspiring youth in Jerusalem.
Between 2003 and 2008, Barkat served as opposition chairman on the Jerusalem City
Council, after which he was elected mayor, remaining in that position for a decade. During
Barkat’s tenure, Jerusalem changed dramatically. Young people returned to the city, hi-tech
companies opened offices in the capital, visits of foreign and local tourists increased,
education and academia reassumed leadership, and national and international culture and
sporting events filled the city’s venues and streets. As a result of his efforts, Jerusalem
showed some of the most significant growth in the world in terms of tourism and the hi-tech
industry and was the leading Israeli city in new business openings.
In 2019, Barkat was elected to the Knesset from the high ranks of the Likud party. In 2022,
Barkat was appointed Minister of Economy and Industry of the State of Israel.
Barkat did his military service in the Paratroopers Corps. He was injured during an operation
in southern Lebanon, yet insisted afterward on returning to the army, becoming a platoon
commander in Battalion 890 and taking part in the First Lebanon War.
Barkat takes no salary for his public service beyond a token of one shekel annually.
Barkat is married to Beverly. He is the father of three daughters and a lifelong Jerusalemite.