Is­rael mourns ‘Mr Jerusalem’

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - FROM JEFF BARAK, JERUSALEM

LEG­ENDARY JERUSALEM mayor Teddy Kollek died on Tues­day morn­ing, aged 95. His state funeral on Mount Herzl, in the sec­tion re­served for Is­rael’s lead­ers, was sched­uled to take place yes­ter­day.

Long-time friend and po­lit­i­cal ally Shi­mon Peres eu­lo­gised Mr Kollek as “the great­est builder in Jerusalem since Herod”. Mr Kollek was the cap-cap­i­tal’s mayor for al­most three decades, from 1965 to 1993, when he was beaten by Ehud Olmert.

Aside from the growth of new Jewish neigh­bour­hoods in Jerusalem fol­low­ing the Six-Day War, Mr Kollek also su­per­vised the build­ing of the Is­rael Mu­seum, of which he was among the founders; the Jerusalem Theatre; the Jerusalem Cine­math­eque; the Teddy soc­cer sta­dium; Safra Square — and many other projects. In 1988, he was awarded the Is­rael Prize for spe­cial con­tri­bu­tions to the peo­ple and the State of Is­rael.

In a state­ment is­sued on Tues­day, Prime Min­is­ter Olmert said: “When he [Mr Kollek] was elected mayor, Je-Jerusalem was a di­vided city with a sta­tus un­wor­thy of it­self. When he left the mayor’s of­fice in 1993, Jerusalem was a great, mod­ern and united city. Teddy Kollek sang Jerusalem’s praises around the world. He de­ci­sively in­flu­enced the city’s way of life, cul­ture, vis­tas, in­sti­tu­tions as well as the re­la­tion­ships of its res­i­dents. His name will al­ways be an in­sep­a­ra­ble part of Jerusalem’s glory.” Mr Olmert also de­scribed Mr Kollek as one of Is­rael’s “great found­ing fa­thers”.

Uri Lupo­lian­ski, the present mayor of Jerusalem, said: “Teddy was Jerusalem and Jerusalem was Teddy. With his

Teddy Kollek: born in Hun­gary, he be­came syn­ony­mous with the city of Jerusalem as its long-serv­ing mayor spirit and per­son­al­ity, he sym­bol­ised the true uni­fied Jerusalem.”

Mahdi Ab­dul-Hadi, a Pales­tinian aca­demic and long­time Jerusalem res­i­dent, said Mr Kollek’s re­la­tions with Jerusalem’s Arab cit­i­zens fol­low­ing the Six-Day War and the uni­fi­ca­tion of Jerusalem were com­plex.

Mr Kollek tried to build bridges with Jerusalem Arabs, but he also built Jewish neigh­bour­hoods in East Jerusalem and razed Arab homes in the Old City to cre­ate the plaza in front of the West­ern Wall. “Pre­vi­ous may­ors were no­body in Jerusalem. They sat around in their of­fices not know­ing what Je- rusalem meant,” Mr Ab­dul-Hadi told the Ha’aretz news­pa­per. “Teddy Kollek knew what Jerusalem meant to the world... Very few peo­ple will grasp that op­por­tu­nity and grasp that mo­ment, that event, and take ad­van­tage of it.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.