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November 23, 1979 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-11-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

12 Friday, November 23, 1979

Yom Kippur War and Israel's High Inflation Tourists Observe Jews
Have Made a Relic of Tel Aviv Bus Station Praying at the Wall

By SIMON GRIVER

tion in Tel Aviv came to a
standstill in December
1975, with the work only
two-thirds completed. Four
years later, what was meant
to be the largest bus station
in the world has been sadly
reduced to perhaps the
world's largest_ "white
elephant."
The imposing but forgot-
ten structure looks forlornly
down on the cramped old
bus station that it was sup;
posed to replace.
The sorry saga goes back
to the late 1960s, when Tel
Aviv's existing central bus
station was (and indeed still
is) bursting at the seams.

Digest
TEL AVIV — Due to lack
of money, all construction
on the new central bus sta-
r =MI •11111111=
MI MEM%
Color

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The limited space had
run out and bus stops had
overflowed into some 40
surrounding streets.
Clearly, something had to
be done and property ty-
coon Arye Pilz, the man
who financed Tel Aviv's
impressive Dizengoff
Center, emerged as the
person to do it.
The enterprising busi-
nessman presented the
municipality of Tel Aviv
with detailed plans, not
only for a bus station far
larger than even New York
City's Port Authority, but a
structure which would also
contain a vast shopping
complex, as well as Israel's
largest telephone exchange.
Moreover, Pilz had man-
aged to raise the required
capital of IL115 million
(then about $40 million),
without any government
help.
When the green light was
given to his scheme, he
formed the Kikar Levinsky
Co. to handle the operation.
Pilz himself owned 49 per-
cent of the new company's
shares, while Egged, the na-
tional bus company, con-
trolled 35 percent, and the
Histadrut-owned construc-
tion company Solel Boneh
took 15 percent.
The remaining one
percent was distributed
between 2,000 small in-
vestors who would own
shops in the new com-
plex.
Despite not being a part-
ner in the ambitious ven-
ture, the government prom-
ised handsome contribu-
tions.
Everything proceeded
rapidly and by the middle of
1968 work had already
begun on the new bus sta-
tion's foundations. The fol-
lowing five years saw the
construction progress on
schedule, as the spectacular
structure took on its huge
and impressive shape.
The Yom Kippur War in
October 1973, which itself
caused the first stoppage in
work, triggered the eco-
nomic crisis which was to
ruin Arye Pilz's dream.

The crisis was to reach
its climax towards the
end of 1975, when infla-
tion was soaring and
building costs had more
than quadrupled from
the original estimate. By
December, already IL300
million (then about $50
million) had been spent,
and the same figure was
needeU again in order to
reach completion.
The Kikar Levinsky capi-
tal had run out several
months previously, and now
Solel Boneh was asked to
foot the bill for all the labor
costs and construction
materials that they were
providing. They threatened
to stop work if Pilz and
Egged were not able to give
them guarantees for the
large sums of money they
were having to lay out.
Pilz and Egged could give
no such guarantees, and the
government reaffirmed its

decision not to help. As a re-
sult, work on the project
ceased.
Shlomo Lahat, the mayor
of Tel Aviv, demanded that
the government nationalize
the Kikar Levinsky Co. so
that the vitally needed serv-
ices could be completed.
The government was of
two minds. On one hand,
they realized the desper-
ate need for the new bus
station, as well as the
tragic waste that would
result if they did not act.

On the other hand, the
economic situation was so
grave and the public purse
so stretched, that money
would have to be diverted
from the other crucial areas
— like defense — to meet
the costs. The government
had made no decision by the
time of the elections in May
1977.
The new Likud adminis-
tration agreed to finance
the completion of the bus
station but announced in
December 1977 that they
had reversed their decision
because the cost had become
too formidable.
Meanwhile, there ap-
pears to be no solution on
the horizon to Tel Aviv's
desperate need for a new
bus station.
The Dan bus cooperative,
which operates Tel Aviv's
local buses, and has always
felt that Arye Pilz's plan is
too grand, has advocated
that waste ground be pur-
chased at the northern and
southern edges of the city, to
build two, more modest bus
stations.

Tourists, at right, standing near the entrance to
the Temple Mount, observe Jews praying at the West-
ern Wall in Jerusalem.

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Canadian Jews
Receive Awards

DOWNSVIEW, Ont.
(JTA) — Five Canadian
women have been awarded
National Council of Jewish
Women of Canada schol-
arships to further their edu-
cation in Jewish studies and
teacher training on pledges
of teaching for a minimum
of two years in a Jewish
school in Canada.

The five winners of the
Irene Samuel scholarships
this year are Anne Ab-
ramovitch of Toronto; Linda
Abrams of Toronto; Rivka
Gurkow of Montreal; Lesley
Silverstone of Toronto and
Louise Tagger of Winnipeg.



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Feminists Move
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`ivi
'ainstream'

NEW YORK (JTA) — Blu
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effort to elevate the status of
Jewish women within
Jewish law told a two-day
conference on feminism
sponsored by the New York
Federation of Jewish
Philanthropies that the fact
that such a conference could
be sponsored by an estab-
lished Jewish organization
proved that feminism "has
become a mainstream
movement, even within the
Jewish community."

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