Teddy Kollek’s legacy

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT&ANALYSIS/ -

Teddy Kollek’s im­pact on Jerusalem as its mayor for 28 years was im­mense. When he won his first may­oral elec­tion in 1965, Jerusalem was a back­ward, pro­vin­cial and di­vided town. Two years later, the stun­ning vic­tory of the Six-Day War pro­vided him with a golden op­por­tu­nity to re­shape the city — with the his­toric Old City at its heart. His skill lay in mo­bil­is­ing other peo­ple to con­trib­ute their money and names to the­atres, con­cert halls and artists’ colonies; parks, out­door mu­se­ums and ur­ban land­scapes. The Jerusalem Foun­da­tion funded ed­u­ca­tion in its widest sense. The Teddy Sta­dium, the only build­ing named af­ter him — and his first name at that — re­flected his own love of healthy out­door ac­tiv­ity, and it was com­mis­sioned in the face of op­po­si­tion from re­li­gious con­ser­va­tives, who feared that sport­ing events would vi­o­late Shab­bat. In fact, his ma­jor po­lit­i­cal back­ing came from the Arab pop­u­la­tion of East Jerusalem. Their ab­sten­tion from the 1993 elec­tion caused his first and fi­nal de­feat. But his in­sis­tence on be­ing avail­able to all and giv­ing ev­ery­one their due has be­queathed to Jerusalem a last­ing legacy of po­lit­i­cal bal­ance and sound ur­ban think­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.